On Friday March 4th, during the busiest season of the year, The Jungle celebrated 12 years of being Craig’s go-to pet store that offers so much more.
Clint Gabbert, the founder of The Jungle, said spring is a busier time than the holidays for the store. Since winter is almost over, people are starting to want more indoor plants to make their homes greener and more lively. It’s also a good time of year to start or replenish your freshwater aquarium with live fish and plants.
The Jungle has been open for 12 years and has occupied its current location at 29 W. Victory Way in Craig for nine years. Moving to the new location was a turning point for The Jungle to become truly successful and original, Gabbert said. With larger space and more possibilities, Gabbert began to expand on freshwater aquariums, reptiles and plants.
“When we first moved into this space, I felt like we would never fill it,” Gabbert said.
Now the retail space is filled wall to wall with aquariums, fish and plants. There are aquariums on display with micro-shrimps and micro-fishes, showing what is possible to build inside an aquarium environment.
The store’s emphasis on natural aquariums with live freshwater fish and plants has been embraced by the store’s community and supporters. Gabbert said natural aquariums were a logical priority because plants and fish go together.
For Gabbert, this business of bringing pets and aquatic plants to Craig is a true passion. The store carries only the healthiest, highest quality pets and plants available. Every two to three weeks, new fish are flown to Denver directly from suppliers. Gabbert travels to Denver to collect the fish and handpick the best plants from the nursery.
“I was obsessed with plants from the moment I could say the word ‘plant,'” Gabbert said.
It is clear from the vibrancy of plants and aquariums that a great deal of care and skill is needed to care for the inventory before it finds a new home. Gabbert gives detailed care instructions before a customer walks out with a new plant or pet, and on a typical day at the store he can be found talking with customers to help with solve the maintenance problems of their plants or their aquariums.
With uniquely curated inventory and an active social media presence, The Jungle even attracts customers from Grand Junction and Rock Springs, Wyo., and has had frontline visitors come to Craig to view the store. .
The store is run by Gabbert, his mother and three part-time employees. One of their regular customers even came before the birthday party to help organize inventory to prepare for the gathering, he said.
“It’s really a lot of fun, and we’re really grateful for all the support from the community,” Gabbert said.