HULL, Mass. — The stimulus checks have been a boom in business for one South Shore company that makes reptile enclosures. The relief payments are helping push sales through the roof.
“We’re sold out for months, so our demand is, luckily, very high. It’s a good problem to have,” said Randy Williams, co-founder of Zen Habitats.
Williams and his wife, Heidi, launched the reptile enclosure and accessory company in 2017 out of their home in Hull not long after they said they couldn’t find a reasonably-priced and good quality enclosure for their bearded dragon. The one they bought was stressing their pet out.
“When we first started, we were making them in our basement. We would cut in our basement, sand in our den, and package them in our living room. That’s how we first started,” Williams said.
Heidi is a fourth-grade teacher.
“I’m finding out a lot of my students have reptiles, and I didn’t know this before, but once you start talking about it, you’d be surprised there is a huge group of people different from puppies and cats, but we’re all just as enthusiastic,” she said.
The Williams have sold 15,0000 units, including more than 13,000 last year during the pandemic. They range from about $300 to $550.
In June, they hired 17 full-time employees, many from Hull.
“Probably one of the things we’re most proud about is the fact that we’ve been able to create jobs for people who couldn’t get ones. They were struggling, and now we not only have people working for us but full-time benefits and those things,” Randy said.
As the surge in reptile sales continues, pet owners continue to splurge.
Williams said they did five times the number of normal sales the day the most recent Covid-19 relief payments hit.
“The stimulus check that just came out was the best sales day we ever had. It was a pretty exciting day. We were all glued to the screen, watching the numbers change as the day went on,” Randy said.
Williams said the stimulus checks helped them grow faster than they thought they would, and because of that, they are about to start another phase of hiring.