This summer marked the 18th year of business for LLLReptile and Supply Co. In an industry where success is the exception, never the norm, this company has remained a leader for nearly a decade. Why is LLLReptile special? How have they remained one of the most trusted and reliable suppliers of herps and supplies for so long? There is no simple answer. A combination of timing, honesty, reliability, stellar management, and a touch of good, old-fashioned luck all have contributed to the uncanny success of this Southern California entity. I am pleased to invite all of our readers on a very special tour. A behind the scenes look at the past, present, and future of LLLReptile.
How does one "get into" reptiles? Well, for LLLReptile founder and owner Loren Leigh, he simply fell into it. Never a self-proclaimed reptile person, Loren's interest in herps peaked when he began work for a wholesaler providing pet supplies to various retail outlets in the Los Angeles area. He found himself quickly engulfed (and intrigued) by the animal industry and what it had to offer. At that same time, leopard geckos were just beginning to gain popularity in the mainstream pet-trade, so on a whim, Loren decided to buy a few high-end gecko pairs and see what happened. It wasn't long before his Santa Clarita garage was overflowing with some of the finest, most unique leopard geckos available at the time. But where to sell them?
The answer came in the form of trade shows. In the early 90's reptiles were just beginning to catch on as the next hot thing, and as a result, small and large trade shows were popping up all over the country. Loren made an effort to be at as many shows as possible, offering his geckos and advice to many budding enthusiasts. To this day, one of the strongest aspects of LLLReptile is their presence (both widespread and exceptionally professional) at reptile shows all over the country.
In the winter of 1996, Loren's brother Scott created a website based on Loren's mail order business, and from that point forward - the business grew rapidly. LLLReptile was one of the very first companies to offer reptiles for sale over the internet. From day one, LLLReptile strived to offer a wide variety of high quality supplies. The products they stocked were the finest available, opening the door to a new level of reptile husbandry. Still today, LLLReptile carries all of the newest and best products, making it easier than ever for customers to provide optimal care for their animals.
The launch of LLLReptile.com was a huge success. What began as a simple website has evolved immensely in the past decade. LLLReptile.com has blossomed into a high-tech, full-service online store. Everything from animals to supplies to feeders can be bought with just a few mouse clicks and shipped right to your door. Additionally, customers can find a large collection of care sheets, articles, and other resources on the site. After the site was launched, business boomed so quickly that Loren and wife (then girlfriend) Jessica realized that their quaint LA apartment could no longer contain the beast they had created. The Stores
Loren chose downtown Oceanside, CA, just north of San Diego, to open their store front. Having a retail establishment quickly drew crowds of passing beach goers into the store. Many people had never been in a reptile store before, and even more people were unaware that such a niche hobby existed.
It wasn't long before LLLReptile Oceanside had cemented itself into the history books as San Diego's biggest and finest reptile and supply store.
As business picked up, a staff of highly dedicated individuals was carefully chosen. Many customers rave about the level of customer service available to anybody visiting LLLReptile. In a renegade industry, the LLL crew is truly a breath of fresh air to both seasoned and novice customers. Repeat customer Krystle Somohano had this to say when informed about LLL, "I'm not surprised, I mean I have never gotten anything but the best animals, products, and service here...The staff is awesome, and I always feel welcome, even when I was just getting into this stuff..."
By the holiday season of 2002, it was becoming evident that having a second retail location would create greater convenience for many LLL customers. San Diego county, being the size that it is, simply couldn't do with just one LLLReptile! So the following summer, a second, larger retail and breeding facility was opened in Escondido, CA, about 15 miles inland from the original location. Set on historic Grand Ave, store #2 quickly gained momentum and has become a fixture of downtown Escondido. All day long, passerbys stop to visit with the store mascot who resides in the stores' front window.
Stocking hundreds of animals, and thousands of supplies, both shops are the epitome of cleanliness and organization. Many people who visit LLL for the first time are shocked not only by the vast selection, but by the presentation. Sleek Vision brand cages house most animals in naturalistic set-ups; no newspaper and cardboard hide boxes here! In addition to all of the reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates, LLL sells feeder insects and rodents as well, living up to their slogan as your "One stop herp shop." LLLReptile Today
Over the last few years LLL has expanded quite a bit. There is now a retail store in Menifee, CA and the newest location in Mission Valley (San Diego) along with a main warehouse and breeding facility in Vista, CA.
To this day, Loren has instilled in their employees the importance of professionalism and customer service. LLLReptile currently employs over 30 individuals, all taking great pride in the company they have helped to create. When prodded in regards to his secret to success, Loren is quick to pass the buck to his loyal employees, "I'm just their to guide them along, teach them what they need to know. They're the ones making the difference." Too bad we can't all have a boss like that!
It is unclear what lay ahead for LLLReptile and Supply. One thing is for sure, and that is that they aren't going away any time soon. LLLReptile will strive to stay ahead of the pack, providing new products as they become available, and evolving along with the wants and needs of the herp-keeping community. New stores coming? Who knows. Keep an eye out...