For pets of all sizes: An-Jan Pet & Feed Supply
A glimpse into a local, family-owned pet supply shop
Family-owned since 1969 by a mother-daughter duo, An-Jan Feed & Pet Supply is a one stop pet shop that provides products and services for all kinds of pets. With its flagship store located in downtown San Jose, the store has spread to six locations. Though the original owners have now retired, An-Jan lives on with its slogan, “We feed them all … for less.”
Manager Ash Blasdel currently works at one of three San Jose locations, this one located on De Anza Blvd. With over 10 years of experience working at various pet supply stores, Blasdel filled out an application after seeing a hiring sign outside to become the current store manager. Now, Blasdel usually works all day, helping people if they have questions about certain supplies, doing inventory and ringing up customers.
In addition to selling pet supplies, An-Jan also provides services, such as a vaccination clinic offered on Sundays and a self-service dog washing station. However, the washing station is not limited to just dogs: Blasdel and assistant manager Molly Creelman recall a particular day in which a woman brought in little goats to use the washing station.
Working at a pet supply store, Blasdel and Creelman’s job is rife with unique encounters. A woman who comes in to buy peanuts for her squirrels jokes about picking up peanuts for her pet elephant. Putting crickets into bags for customers’ pets — “there’s always some escapees” Blasdel notes. A customer brings in her potbelly pig named Meatball for a routine visit. A regular customer who has a herd of alpacas that hum.
“He gets some of the cat litter — that’s what [alpacas] use,” Blasdel said. “I did not know that [alpacas] hum. He played a video and I can actually fall asleep to that. That was pretty cool. If you get the chance, you should just look up alpacas humming because it is just so darn cute.”
Blasdel, who’s now been at An-Jan for five years and sees it as her favorite retail job, loves the charm of working at a local, family-owned business with a “warmer” environment instead of a corporate chain with greater rigidity. Creelman, who has been coming to An-Jan ever since she was small, enjoys being able to help customers find the appropriate resources for their pets and connecting with them on a personal level.
“So there’s a real big person-to-person connection with the customers and us,” Creelman said. “One of my regular customers, she just recently lost her dog so that was a little heartbreaking … [because] I couldn’t be [there] to give her [a] hug … [but with] the bigger chain stores, there’s really not much of a connection with customers … as opposed to the small family-owned company, where there is that person-to-person connection.”
Similarly, junior Stephanie Chang notes the intimacy she’s seen in the local pet store business versus a larger corporation. When taking care of her two pet rabbits Blackie and Fluffy from fourth to eighth grade before they died, Chang used to regularly visit the An-Jan on De Anza Blvd.
“It feels a bit more personal, like it’s a smaller place,” Chang said. “[An-Jan is] just localized and you knew [the people] every time you went so I just felt like I knew it quite well. If you go to PETCO, it’s such a big place [so] it’s hard to know everything.”
For Blasdel, having a small local business like An-Jan can also draw more customers to the shop. While she notes that some customers may go to corporate stores for the sake of convenience or because of their locations, many actively shop at An-Jan.
“[People will] go out of the way to come over to our side of the town because they want to spend their money locally,” Blasdel said. “You’re supporting actual people in the community, for the families that run [these local businesses], so you’re actually putting their kids through school. You’re not buying a second home for some big corporate bigwig in some other state.”
The family-owned feel of the store also permeates into Blasdel’s interactions with customers she has seen over the years. She notes several kids who’ve come in regularly, celebrating when they graduated middle school and entered high school. In some cases — when they graduate high school and leave for college.
“People know us by name, we know them by name and that’s kind of how [being a] small neighborhood [local] store feels,” Blasdel said. “I had one kid come back in — he had graduated high school just as I started working here [and] went off to college, so it had to have been about four or five years, and he said, ‘Oh, Ash, how you doing?’ so that was fun. I’m surprised he still remembered my name — I’m just the shop person.”
For a walkthrough of An-Jan Feed & Pet Supply, click through the photo slideshow below.