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He logs more than 2,500 miles a year inside the store. Germans are also, by reputation, more analytical than sentimental, which could help explain their interest in animals that are observed in tanks or cages rather than commingled in the family home. "See the Bible, David and Goliath," says Zajac. “Zoo Zajac’s consumer experience is its advantage,” says Antje Schreiber, a spokeswoman for the German Pet Trade & Industry Association. Of course you can also stop in for a gift if you're visiting a nearby pet too! New England's community pet store. Reprinted with permission. In 2011, for instance, a group of British and Australian researchers counted 98 reptile shows in the European Union, 41 of which were in Germany. Banaszak doesn't think the world's biggest pet shop needs penguins, or any other new animals. On a recent Saturday morning, Zajac rested his hand on the trunk of a customer's car and leaned over to examine the license plate. "It's almost used as a gratis zoo by the people," says Ulrich Schürer, the former director of the nearby Zoo Wuppertal. “There was always something new to look at,” he says, “and since customers were already there, they would just buy anything else they needed.” He took this revelation as a license to indulge his wildest pet fantasies. If you have not had the opportunity to visit our store, you are in for a wonderful experience. The biggest question facing Zoo Zajac today may be whether it can outlive the man who built it. Germany still has more than 5,000 independent pet shops, but their market share has dwindled to less than 15 percent. “Cologne,” he said. Most German businesses are modest enterprises, and consumers there aren’t impressed by immensity in and of itself. Here is our list of rankings for the Top 20 Most Visited Online Pet Stores Websites. By the early 2000s, Zoo Zajac had claimed all the space it possibly could in its original location. “I had to help her give birth here on the living room table,” he says. One pet food manufacturer withdrew its products from the store's shelves. Zajac always sold dog food and supplies, but like all German pet shop owners, he’d stopped selling dogs themselves in the 1970s. Zajac was responding to a changing market. Zoo Zajac is the only pet store in Germany where customers can buy a dog. Pet Express provides the happiest, healthiest puppies to Boston, MA. The first three deaths came after he was stung by lionfish at Zoo Zajac, and the fourth happened during knee replacement surgery. His parents, a highway cop and a housewife in Gladbeck, Germany, said he could keep as many pets as he wanted, as long as he paid for them himself. Visit our fun locations and meet our friendly puppy pals today! The steel industry had declined over the decades, and Duisburg was losing population every year. Chains slashed operating costs by eliminating live animals and exploited economies of scale to sell an ever-increasing variety of products as cheaply as possible. “Eighty kilometers.” He continued down the row of tiny European vehicles, estimating the distance of their journey to his store. (Zoo Zajac, which has about 1 million annual visitors, would rank in the top 30 of European zoos if it were eligible.). During a tour, Zajac might also feed fresh eggs from his chickens to a monitor lizard, or take you through the reptile tanks, which are stacked three high in long rows, like televisions in the window of an old electronics store. A walk around the place is essentially an endurance sport, which is why Zajac, a heavy man with two bad knees, zips up and down the aisles on a black moped. Germany still has more than 5,000 independent pet shops, but their market share has dwindled to less than 15 percent. He claims to have already died and been resuscitated on the operating table four times. But German pet ownership, like many German enthusiasms, gets a little weird. In the U.S., PetSmart and Petco Animal Supplies capture more than half of industry revenue. ... Burlington, MA 01803. Largest Pet Store in the World These pictures are from our visit to a pet store which touts itself as, "The largest pet store in the world." Highlights include Zajac feeding grasshoppers to a family of little monkeys, who bite off the heads and gobble up the bodies two-handed, like a hoagie; a call-and-response duet between peacocks and the horn on Zajac’s moped; and Zajac’s T-shirt. While many independent shops disappeared or turned to high-end services like grooming or day care, Zajac took the opposite tack. “I believe the Chinese can do anything,” he says. There’s also China, where Zajac fears his achievement will one day be surpassed. 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