OAKHURST — It’s hard to believe that Steve’s Tropical Fish & Pet Supply is celebrating five years in business this weekend, but it’s true. Steve and Kristin Bateman have managed to successfully grow a small mom and pop business, while growing their family at the same time. At this stage, the future is bright.
“It certainly has gotten easier now that the kids are a little older,” say the owners. “It wasn’t that long ago that Kristin was a pro at catching and bagging fish, or loading up a bag of feed with one hand while holding Jaxon in the other.” Jaxon is 2 1/2 now, and Nic is 6 years old.
“Growing a business while raising them is actually a fun challenge,” says the busy mom and shop owner, speaking of the Bateman kids who are often on site. “Nic says he likes the animals the best and his favorite is Gizmo the Chinchilla. Jaxon doesn’t talk yet, but he loves riding pallets in every night.”
To make sure the community knows just how much the couple appreciates all the community support over the years, Steve’s is having a big party to celebrate their big five year anniversary.
Stop by the pet shop on Saturday, Apr. 2 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and join in the fun, as Steve’s hosts balloon artist Heather Sconce, and has raffles with prizes planned throughout the day.
Between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., visitors will be offered a complimentary hot dog lunch, and anyone who buys five chicks gets one free. There’s a huge blow-out sale taking place, so visit the website and Facebook page for more information.
Beyond special occasions like this five year anniversary, Kristen and Steve are believers in giving back, and spend as much time as possible promoting the greater good.
“We have been able to do much more in the last couple of years due to the store’s growth and believe strongly that we should bless others because He’s blessed us.”
Kristin is in the Sierra Lions Club, and Steve’s also supports the EMC SPCA every chance they get.
Many residents are familiar with the low-cost vaccination program available through the pet shop, with proceeds going to the local shelter building fund.
“We hooked up with Hoof ‘n Paw Vet Hospital to have fundraising vaccination clinics during the summer that benefit the EMC SPCA,” Kristin explains. “Dr. Beth Taylor volunteers her time and staff to administer vaccinations, and every penny of the profits go to the EMC SPCA.”
The Batemans are also some of the boosters behind the annual Oakminster Dog Show and, later in the year, the annual Animal Faire.
Both events take place at the Oakhurst Community Park and benefit the EMC SPCA. They pretty much help out whenever they can.
“We give free goldfish to any church, school, or organization that host community events and budget every month for additional donations to other community events such as HOW dinners and local fundraisers.”
This notion of giving back extends beyond the borders of the foothills, and yet remains deeply personal for the Kristin and Steve.
“In addition to the local community, we also do yearly benefit walks in Sacramento for Polycystic Kidney Disease,” Kristin notes, adding that at least once a year they run a Tough Mudder course to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, with the next one in three weeks.
“The kidney walks can be quite the emotional accomplishment,” Kristin says, explaining that she has polycystic kidney disease.
“The Tough Mudders give us a sense of pride in the tremendous physical challenges we overcome, and what they stand for.” This is especially true since Kristin and members of her family have served in the armed forces.
So, what’s new at the pet shop since their four-year anniversary in 2015? Like the rest of the world, the Batemans and their shop have gotten more high tech, computer-wise.
“It was a bit of an adjustment at first, but turned into a huge blessing, making checking out customers and ordering much easier.”
Among the best news is that Steve’s has been able to hire help as Mike Corral has joined the team full-time.
“We love Mikey and his family and appreciate his hard work!”
All in all, the Batemans have placed themselves in the sweet spot of life, and it all boils down to the importance of family, and community, and the little creatures that call Steve’s place home until they move on with their forever owners. So, what’s the best part about life at the pet shop?
“I’m going to have to agree with Nic that the best thing is the animals,” Kristin laughs. “They’re all our pets until they find new homes.”
Finally, the Bateman want to invite the public to stop by on Saturday, or anytime during business hours, and say hello. They’ve got something to say to you.
“I guess above all else, we want to say thank you. We certainly wouldn’t be here today were it not for their support. This big five year anniversary sale is our way of saying that.”
Steve’s Tropical Fish & Pet Supply on Facebook