There is a cockatiel who will preen its wings flirtatiously as its inquisitive head feathers stand and she eyes your every move. But when you put your hand to her chest so she could perch on your fingers, she will clumsily lose her balance and fall off her artificial branch, and a whistle would follow, as if to say, “Whoops.”
You can find this cockatiel at Choice Pet in Danbury.
Choice Pet first opened its doors at its first location in Norwalk in 1979. The Danbury store is a mere teenager compared to it, at about 12 years old, but over the years, the company has expanded from one store to 16 more across Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. The company has been under new ownership since last year and underwent a makeover: animal-themed emojis can be seen hanging in the window, with a chalkboard theme through the store.
Besides its adorable aesthetic, what is it that makes this place so contagious?
“We specialize in food you won’t find elsewhere because they are produced by small mom-and-pop companies that have no interest in going to big box stores,” Aaron St. Hilaire, the assistant manager of the Danbury store, explains. “We specialize in nutrition and want the customers to leave happy.”
Choice Pet sells foods that you can’t find at your local Petco. Though they sell commercial brands like Purina and Friskies, you will find an abundance of foods that will let your pets eat as well as you do, such as Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals, NutriSource, Lotus, and Rawz.
“Working with the animals is my favorite part,” says Cyndy Carris, the senior associate. “The customers are really great too.”
“The diversity of the animals that we see come through here is awesome,” adds Aaron.
“We take great care of them,” Cyndy says, but then is interrupted as a customer rings through the door. She turns around and smiles generously and says, “Hi, welcome to Choice Pet.” The customer doesn’t need her help, so she turns back to me and continues. “The difference [between Choice Pet and big box stores] is that we are smaller so we have the opportunity to be more knowledgeable.”
Aside from the attentive customer service, the perks are what drives customers back.
Choice Pet price matches other stores, offers 10% discounts for every tenth visit, allows for partner programs, has bag programs with certain brands of kibble, holds adoption events, and an on-the-go pet health clinic even visits every month.
Choice Pet sells fish, reptiles, and small animals, including – but not limited to – leopard geckos, bearded dragons, toads, hermit crabs, fish, ferrets, rabbits, cockatiels, parakeets, hamsters, guinea pigs and an array of snakes, such as corn snakes, black rat snakes, and ball pythons.
Choice Pet also sells crickets by the box or loose, as well as live mice and rats for reptilian feeding.
If you are a parent who is looking for a good first pet for your kids, then go to Choice Pet. If you can’t figure out why your fish are getting sick, then go to Choice Pet. If you want to try a new brand of food for your aging cat, then…well, you know the rest.
You wouldn’t be surprised if the associates got to know you by name.