Outside suite 403 at 289 East Ellendale Ave. in Dallas hangs a blank sign.
It could represent that a year ago, Gabrielle Bumpus only had an idea of someday opening a pet store. Or, the white space awaiting text could represent the months residents were left without an independent store in Dallas to meet their furry family members’ needs after Pets Unleashed closed in March.
Actually, it turns out it just takes a while for new signs to be created with the current supply chain issues. Undaunted, Bumpus and her fiancé Krystle Sanchez opened The Jungle Pet Supply June 6 with everything they needed to make a dream come true.
When the two met a little over year ago, they each “had their own thing,” and as fate would have it, that didn’t scare the other off.
Bumpus owned a fish-breeding business about three years ago with the moniker The Jungle.
“The idea was to open a fish store in town, then that idea expanded to open a full-service pet store instead,” Bumpus, 22, explained.
Sanchez, 33, was attending Western Oregon University to study equine chiropracting,
“I thought I was going to scare her away with a horse,” Sanchez recalled. “She’s never been around a horse. I got her on a horse for the first time, and she stayed. She still wants to ride.”
Then her studies expanded to becoming a veterinary technician, caring for other small animals and their two interests intersected at the right time for both their dreams.
“When the other store shut down, she said ‘I want to do this,’” Sanchez recalled. “It happened so fast. I was like, ‘Wow, we own a pet store. Wow. We did it.’ I’m glad I was able be here for the ride, support her. Watch her dream come true.”
The reaction from the community has been exceptional, Bumpus said.
“It’s been incredible. There was this demand, people missed having the other pet store in town that closed,” Bumpus said. “We were kinda like being the saviors in town. People are really supportive of that.”
The online buzz was immediate after they announced their opening plans.
“The amount of comments online, people were really excited,” Shanchez said. “Opening day, so many in the community came in to see us. It was really awesome to see. We’re here. Now they don’t have to drive very far away. Before, you had to drive 20-30 minutes for the next nearest pet store.”
The Jungle carries only small animals, never dogs or cats, unless it’s for an adoption event, Bumpus said. At the moment, they have two guinea pigs that were surrendered to them (which were quarantined and passed a veterinary checkup), one rabbit, a variety of tropical fish, birds, hamsters, and even a leopard gecko.
“Everything we have in here is locally bred, so no shipping. We’ve got dog and cat food treats, foods for small animals, all the things you’d expect from a retail pet store,” she added.
And they have something uncommon – a self-wash station as well, which Bumpus said is handy for pet owners finding it hard to bathe their cats or dogs at home in the shower or tub.
One item they’ve continued by popular demand following the closure of Pets Unleashed is the line of CBD products that contain cannabinoid extracts designed to help relieve pet anxiety.
“A lot of people get it to comfort their animals. A lot of people don’t like having to go to the vet and pay a lot for anxiety medications. CBD is all plant based, safe,” Bumpus said. “Plus, we’re open in time for July 4th fireworks.”
So far, Sanchez handles the social media – just Facebook so far, no website – and Bumpus is the supply chain expert. Together, they seek how best to meet their customers’ needs, whether it’s in stock or on their growing wish list.
“I usually tell them everything I know, but don’t only rely on just my information,” Bumpus said. “Go online and watch as many videos as you can. Don’t get all info from one source. I like to say I know everything, but I definitely don’t know everything. I’m still learning. The pet industry is constantly growing.”
And Sanchez is expanding her animal husbandry at WOU. While not a veterinarian, as a vet tech she’s learning a lot about the smaller animals, from how to handle (“there’s different way to pick up rabbit than a guinea pig”) to being able to spot when they’re ill.
“It’s nice to know when something is wrong and catch it,” Sanchez said. “We can keep them healthy. You don’t want to sell sick animals.”
The best part so far being open seven days a week is being right on the main strip through town off Ellendale Avenue. The bad part is that lack of a sign pinpointing their location. Luckily, Bumpus said they describe to potential customers they’re between two colorful Mexican food restaurants. And they’re able to leave the front door open to further point the way inside.