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April 11, 2024

  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
  • Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg
    Indie bookstore, Gathering Volumes, just hosted poet and (transgender) activist, Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility, Minney read from her poetry book – A Woman in Progress (2024). Her reading depicted emotional and physical transformations especially in the scene of womanhood and queer experiences. Her language is empowering and personally […]
Spring Housing Guide

On-the-job injury prompts Yoder to start local pet business

A $600 sulcata tortoise named George was almost out the front door of Yoders Pet Store when Harold Yoder caught him.

After Yoder placed him on the floor, George wandered around as customers looked on.

Yoder hadn’t always wanted to run his own business. He took a more indirect route to get to his current lifestyle.

In 1998, Yoder and his two sons returned to Bowling Green, the hometown he left more than 20 years ago.

After dropping out of high school, Yoder hitchhiked around the country for seven years, working at race tracks, dairies and horse farms, and painting high rises. Then he began a career in concessions traveling with carnivals.

Coming back to BG, he found work at Turner Vault pouring concrete for burial vaults and manholes. Unable to work after injuring his back three years ago, Yoder was went on social security.

But he wasn’t ready to be retired. “What do you do on social security? Sit around, drink beer and watch soap operas? I don’t know,” Yoder said.

But he did know that he wanted to work. Turning to Ohio Rehabilitation Services, Yoder obtained a ticket to work. He was still unemployable.

Because he had no control over when he would need to sit or stand and is unable to take pain medication, Yoder couldn’t find a job. His family doctor suggested that he take his interest and turn it into a business.

That interest was aquariums and pets. Inspired by his sons’ blue-ribbon winning 4H project, the single dad decided he wanted to run a pet store.

Ohio Rehabilitation Services helped him through business school and obtaining a grant to give the business a jump start.

Since opening last December, Yoder hasn’t had a day off. The store is open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“I really enjoy it. It feels like retirement even though I put in more hours than I ever though I would,” Yoder said.

Hard work has paid off so far. From only being able to rent the front room of the building, Yoder now has a garage and a house right in front his pet store located on 1028 N. Main St.

For a store often packed by people looking for exotic pets, Yoder hardly advertises. Originally planning to use billboards and newspaper ads, his business has spread through word of mouth.

People come from places as far as Monroe, Mich. and across the Toledo area to obtain pets like the litter and leash-trained lizard, a Savannah Monitor from Africa, bearded dragons from Australia and black piranhas from Peru.

In Bowling Green, Yoder said there is an entire apartment complex of people that come in all of the time so they can outdo each other’s aquariums.

Brian Hartman, a junior, comes in once per week to buy crickets for the poison dart frog habitat he is building.

Laurie Harrison, a senior in biochemistry, was even more attached to Yoders Pet Store.

“I kept coming in to get fish for my crawdad and I kept convincing Harry his tanks were dirty and he needed to hire me,” she said.

Harrison has been with Yoder for eight months and controls of his spending and keeps the books straight.

Student Allison Peck, a marine biology major, also took advantage of the unique employment opportunity. She began working at the pet store before school started. Because of her expertise with aquatic life, Peck works at the store almost everyday. Neither student has a set schedule.

“I get to come and go as I please. School is first. He’s like another dad and tells me he’ll fire me if my grades drop.”

With all of the exotic pets in the store, a customer approached Yoder and asked for one in particular. Yoder said he is always able to locate almost any pet desired, provided it falls under city ordinance.

Speaking of the requests, Yoder asked, “Where else can you get a Nile Puffer?”

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