Paradise Pets to close after eight years

Fulton’s only pet store served as educational resource on reptiles

Racheal and Tom McDowell pose with a ball pyton, California kingsnake and Columbian red-tailed boa at Paradise Pets, which closes June 22. It was Tom's love of reptiles that lead to the couple opening Paradise Pets eight years ago.

Racheal and Tom McDowell pose with a ball pyton, California kingsnake and Columbian red-tailed boa at Paradise Pets, which closes June 22. It was Tom's love of reptiles that lead to the couple opening Paradise Pets eight years ago. Photo by Dean Asher.

For nearly a decade, Tom and Racheal McDowell have provided Fulton with pets and information on reptiles.

That all comes to an end June 22 as Paradise Pets shuts its doors for good, citing medical reasons and a poor economy.

The pet store has served Fulton and Callaway for eight years at various locations before settling into its current address at 901 U.S. Business 54.

The McDowells said business had been slow, but the economy and medical reasons forced their hand into closing.

“I hate to go, leaving Fulton without a pet store,” Tom said. “We just can’t do it anymore.”

Racheal, the store’s owner and an educator of 17 years, said she and her husband started out by buying an existing pet store in 2005. At first they were driven as a hobby — Tom had decades of experience handling reptiles — but soon Racheal’s educational roots began showing. Paradise Pets has spent the past eight years educating youth in Callaway County, hosting birthday parties and visiting schools, Cub Scouts and other organizations.

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