Having trouble finding food for a pet gecko, iguana or chameleon? The Beast, a store specializing in "feeder insects," opens this weekend.
It started out as a hobby for Lee Voelker, whose family has plenty of reptilian pets, said his wife, Pamela. "It got bigger and bigger and bigger," she said of their efforts at home on Bartlett Road.
The family-run business at 8963 Turin Road will hold a grand opening today. Initial hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays, as well as 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. There will be reduced hours from June to September, and no weekend hours. The couple will also have the help of their son, who is in high school, and their daughter, who is in college.
The wholesale breeding and sale includes a host of feeder insects: mealworms, superworms, crickets, dubia roaches, hissing cockroaches, wax worms and two types of fishing worms. They are meant as food for such pets as geckos, bearded dragons, iguanas, Chinese water dragons, monitors and chameleons.
The store will sell to the public and to pet stores, Pamela Voelker noted. The family decided to open a store because nearby pet stores were interested in a full-time supplier locally, to cut down on shipping, she said.
The store will focus on the Oneida County area, but the family has already established customers from Syracuse to Albany. They also intend to supply feeder insects to several Rome businesses, such as Peterson’s Pets and Jungle Kids Play House.