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Andy's Pet Shop

For 50 years, the pet store has sparked imaginations

By Traci Hukill

When I was a kid, just looking at the gameboard of Candyland sent me into a trance. All those colors, all that candy--the Neapolitan pathway beckoned toward some fantastic place whose charms I could only guess at. To a generation of kids who grew up in the valley, the tropical animal mural outside Andy's Pet Shop did the same thing. The difference was Candyland never delivered. Andy's did.

"When I was small," remembers Linda Gaetke, Andy's owner of six years, "coming here was better than going to the zoo. Everything was legal in California in those days. Andy even had an ocelot at one time. He used to have monkeys, ferrets, otters, everything."

Things have changed since those palmy days. Rabbits, goldfish, mice, birds and a few kittens and puppies make up the inventory at Andy's now. Dedicated Andy's watchers know that the store has gone through a few distinct phases--like the one years ago in which the rat and hamster populations soared in a most unseemly and odiferous manner. Presently, however, Andy's seems to be fully engaged in a sweet-smelling avian phase. Budgies, finches, doves, cockatiels, lovebirds ($65 each--"sex not guaranteed")--their squeaks and peeps and flutters rule the front of the store, where their spacious 4-foot-by-6-foot-by-6-foot cages reside.

Andy's The Whole Kitten 'n' Caboodle: Shampoo, kibbles, brushes, food bowls--Andy's has everything for the aspiring pet owner, even the kittens.


Which brings us to another point: All the animals are in big cages with plenty of room to move. Well, except for the crickets, but someone has to be at the bottom of the food chain.

And Gaetke won't sell her darlings to just anyone--not by a long shot.

"People do too much impulse buying here [in California]," she says. "You have to try to talk some people out of it. If they're not suitable parents, you just don't sell to them."

Gaetke's shop is still firmly lodged in the hearts of pet owners throughout the valley (Andy's won Readers' Survey picks in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997 and 1998 and took home an Editor's Pick in 1988). The mural is much smaller now, and higher up so taggers can't get to it, but its colorful animals still entice kids. In its heart, Andy's is the same pet shop with the ocelot.


1280 The Alameda, SJ 408.297.0840

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From the September 30-October 6, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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