From iconic pet store to non-profit adoption center, Andy’s Pet Shop in San Jose is going to be redefined

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) – Andy’s Pet Shop in San Jose has served the community of South Bay and beyond for almost 70 years.

Co-owner, Lissa Shoun took over the business in 2007. She and her husband moved the storefront to 51 Notre Dame Avenue in 2010.

“When we moved in here we were broke,” Shoun told ABC7 News. “We didn’t have any money. We couldn’t fix the floor. The rats saved us.”

ABC7 News was there as Andy proposed 1,400 rats for adoption. The rodents have been removed from a hoarder’s home in Los Angeles.

As times have changed, Shoun explained that Andy still faces major challenges.

“We bought it in late 2007 with the intention of becoming rescue pets,” she said. “What we’ve been doing since then. It doesn’t pay the bills.”

She and her husband can no longer afford to take care of the critters or pay rent. Thus, the store will soon be reclassified as a non-profit adoption center.

“We would like the adoption center – the animal side of things to be non-profit because there is more money available for grants and support, volunteers, etc.,” Shoun said. “A non-profit organization would be able to do a lot more than we could do and that would also allow us to continue, financially speaking.”

“We pay all of their veterinary expenses, all of their medications,” employee Alex Rabenstein told ABC7 News.

Rabenstein said she understands this is not a sustainable business practice.

Rabenstein gave us a tour of the center, introducing us to the hundreds of children to be adopted.

“It doesn’t really make up for the amount of money spent on taking care of them, compared to the amount we are adopting them for,” Rabenstein said.

Rabenstein also explained that buying food has become a trivial matter.

“I want to do it. A lot of these animals are omnivorous, so I’m just going to go and get some vegetables for them,” Rabenstein explained.

Shoun said, “A non-profit adoption center means we could adopt a lot more animals and get the resources to take care of them.”

The care comes at a cost, but it’s the quality that Andy’s clients say they’ve noticed.

“I’ve seen a lot of things not yet adoptable that have been taken care of,” said Mary Stottlemyer. “Then a few weeks later, they’re good to go.”

Stottlemyer said she has been shopping at Andy’s for almost 20 years.

Among the store’s monetary challenges, its downtown location may soon face a new development – a tower block with homes, offices and retail.

However, Shoun said it was a challenge for another day.

“It takes time for these things. There is a big backlog,” she said. “So I hope for another year or two before I have to look for another place to move.”

Click on this link to visit the Andy’s Pet Shop website and for more information on re-qualifying the shop.

Check out more stories and videos about building a better bay area.

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