SUDBURY, Ontario-November 18, 2016-Nestled into the Donovan, on a street that seems to be the hot spot for trendy local businesses, is a charming little pet store called Northern Exotics. From all outward appearances, this pet store looks to be just like any other. However, a few short steps and a turn at the end of an aisle will lead you to a remarkable space that you can only see to believe.
With almost 100 different species of animals from around the world, this animal exhibit and education centre features almost 4,000 square feet of space, uniquely designed and artistic habitats that replicate the animal’s natural environment, introductions and educational information about each animal and a clear display of passion and dedication from the owners.
Dennis and Cambie Epp opened their pet store in December 2013 and have since spent their time growing their business and working on building the indoor zoo. The exhibit itself opened in December 2015; an entire two years in the making. “We started with a large empty space and built all of the enclosures by hand, with students that helped paint during the summers and a local tattoo artist that airbrushed some of the inside walls for us,” says Dennis. Every extra minute that the small business owners had went into completing the project, and they are excited to share it with the public.
Most of the animals in the exhibit used to be pets and they have either been dropped off or rescued from abuse, in need of a good home. “For various reasons, many people become unable to take care of their pets anymore so they bring them to us,” says Cambie, “and our purpose with this centre is to educate people on what these animals need to be taken care of properly and why they may or may not make good pets.” Dennis and Cambie understand that things happen in life and that unexpected events may occur, however their mission, as Dennis says, “is to take the impulse out of buying animals as pets and make sure that people understand the full spectrum of what is involved in caring for these amazing creatures before making that commitment.”
Dennis has been an animal enthusiast his entire life and has had many years of experience working with exotic animals. His degree is in Environmental Science, with concentrations in Conservation Biology and Animal Behaviour. Cambie is a teacher, and uses her education and experience to develop educational programs for day cares, summer camps and schools that visit the exhibit throughout the year.
With services in both English and French, wheelchair accessibility and learning geared towards all levels, Northern Exotics is a rewarding experience for anyone who visits. Also, shopping in the pet store or visiting the exhibit contributes to the health and well-being of the animals, as well as to public education.
Check out Northern Exotics at 517 Kathleen Street in Sudbury, online at www.northern-exotics.com or on https://www.facebook.com/Northern-Exotics-243065532510128/.
Animal Exhibit & Education Centre
517 Kathleen St., Sudbury