Jay Brewer truly is a self made man. Adopted at birth and orphaned by the age of 14, he was not given many opportunities for a bright future. Jay knew that he had only one option – TO SURVIVE.
With a meager $500 inheritance and the guidance of his good friend and mentor “Uncle Louie,” he designed and built a small commercial fishing boat and started his first business. Using his skill, stregnth, and common sense, Jay ran a successful commercial fishing business for almost 10 years. All of this hard work at such a young age earned Jay the privilege of being featured in National Geographic Magazine.
Newly married to his wife Becky in 1987, Jay decided to leave the fishing business for something that would give him more time at home. Jay’s long time passion was keeping and breeding the Indian Python (python molurus molurus) a rare and endangered snake. Once he had successfully bred them his home, Jay decided start up another business. This time it wasn’t just a survival instinct, it was doing something he loved. With an entrepreneurial spirit, a $6000 deposit, and $5000 in their savings, the 23-year-old Brewer and his wife bought Pet Country, a small pet store in Fountain Valley, Ca.
Pet Country stocked a variety of animals and supplies, but what made them special was that they were one of the first pet stores to carry a large selection of Reptiles. Jay & Becky started circulating a nationwide reptile inventory price list and as their reputation grew, it didn’t take very long for them to adopt the slogan, “The Reptile Leaders.”
From the beginning Jay became well known for his breeding ventures, reproducing many endangered species as well as producing numerous new morphs of these and other species: Indian pythons, albino Burmese pythons, rare boas, and frilled dragons. Jay also gained world wide notoriety for breeding the very first patternless leopard geckos, the first patternless African Rock pythons (centerfold of Jan 2000 Reptiles magazine), the first Blizzard Lizards (cover story March 2000 Reptiles magazine), one of the first Albino Reticulated pythons and any many more.
With the success of the exotic breeding programs and a thriving wholesale/retail business, expansion was inevitable. This time Jay had a vision;
To build a store that specializes only in reptiles and amphibians. His vision became a reality in April 1990, when he designed and built the first “Prehistoric Pets” in the city of Chino. With the confidence of having three successful businesses in a row, plans were under way to build the flagship store “Prehistoric Pets, the Fountain Valley Superstore”. Unlike Pet Country, the new Fountain Valley store would focus only on reptiles, amphibians and all their needs. Jay decided to completely close Pet Country to make way for the new 5000 square foot Prehistoric Pets Superstore.
Jay and Becky wanted the new store to be more than just “Another Pet Store”, so they went all out creating a zoo-like experience for everyone that visits. The most popular attraction is a 2000-gallon circular pond with an island in the middle that is filled with giant tropical fish and turtles for the customers to feed. And just to add to the scenery, there’s a giant monitor lizard living on the island. On each side of the pond there are large tortoise pens housing a 450lb. Galapagos tortoise and several large African Spurthigh tortoises. All in all there are over 400 displays throughout the store exhibiting more than a thousand animals. The Prehistoric Pets adventure has been compared to those of the world’s best zoos. Jay also developed an idea that has opened the doors of herpetology to thousands of children in Southern California. Jurassic Parties was created to bring the Prehistoric Pets experience to your home or school. This one hour interactive presentation is very popular for birthdays, school functions and even an occasional office party. (JurassicParties.com) Prehistoric Pets has had the privilege of being hired as a featured exhibitor at numerous fairs and expositions. Attending the California State fair for 3 years, the Pennsylvania state fair for 2 years and the Oklahoma state fair for 2 years just to name a few.
By 1998, with the incredible success of the Fountain Valley store, Jurassic
Parties, and the numerous breeding projects it became necessary to sell Prehistoric Pets - Chino in October of that year. Jay sold the store to a to a long-time employee.
Like most businesses entering the 21st century, Prehistoric Pets opened PrehistoricPets.com in June 1996 making it one the first reptile related e-commerce sites on the Internet. To this day PrehistoricPets.com is one of the few robust; easy-to-use and professional reptile related websites around.
PrehistoricPets.com averages close to a million hits and almost one hundred thousand page views per month.
Through aggressive advertising using an accomplished Internet team, these numbers are growing larger every month. We are currently at 600% growth over last year, and as of May 8, 2001 our on-line sales total over $65,000 for
PrehistoricPets.com & blizzardlizard.com combined.
In 1997, Jay had an idea for a revolutionary new cage design. With a U.S. patent on the design, production is scheduled to start early 2001. An aggressive marketing plan is also under way and if all works as planned, Jay’s new cage should be seen on store shelves across the nation before Christmas.
In November of 2000, Jay was given the opportunity to make Prehistoric Pets one of the largest retail reptile stores in the country. A 4000sq ft Realty office next door to Prehistoric Pets became vacant. Without a second thought,
Jay leased the offices, began tearing down the walls between the two storefronts and by the end of December he was able to unveil the new and larger, better than-ever Prehistoric Pets. The now 9000+ sq ft Prehistoric Pets has made it possible not only to add multiple new animal displays it has also been possible to move the breeding facility on-site.
Now the public can witness the Albino Reticulated python project, the Blizzard Lizard Project, the Patternless African Rock python project and more! This gave us space to do in-store parties in one of our three private party rooms.
We are now starting to focus on the educational side of our business with Jurassic Parties. We have two options for you to choose from. We travel to your home or your event with 12-15 exiting animals like a15 foot long snake, lizards, giant frogs, turtles and tortoises, tarantulas, scorpions, chameleons and 4 foot long monitor lizard! The other option would be to have your party here in our new super store. Both in home and store parties offer an exciting time for you and your guests as they get a chance to hold the reptiles and get up close for pictures. It’s an informative, interactive adventure that you won’t forget!
With over 400 % growth in Jurassic Parties in the past 12 months, we intend to continue expanding this part of our business by purchasing 5 new Ford Focuses and outfitting them with large billboard ads for our parties. We have also been aggressively advertising in local magazines, which has been getting extremely positive results. Last but not least, in keeping up with the times, we have JurassicParties.com.
In today’s modern society it is difficult for a new business to last more than 5 years. Prehistoric Pets is now in their 13th year as a successful privately owned small business. They have not only made it, but the business has thrived and grown! Jay Brewer started his adult life at age 14 with $500.00 to his name. Relying on hard work, determination, and his unique ability to turn a vision into reality, Jay built the foundation for his own road to success. With his wife Becky working by his side and support from his family and close friends, the future for this self made man promises to be a prosperous and exciting one.
Our amazing completed facility!