Editor’s Choice: 2015 Business Person of the Year – Matthew Parks of Pangea

Feb 24, 2016
The Reptile Report
by Judy Clothier

The Reptile Report - It’s my honor and pleasure to announce the winners in our special 2015 Editor’s Choice categories. More Editor’s Choice winners from our primary categories will be announced on Thursday, Feb 25th. Reader’s Choice winners are coming on Monday, Feb 29th, so hold on to your seats for more exciting news coming soon!

Matthew Parks of Pangea is our 2015 Business Person of the Year!  What started out as breeding gerbils at home as a kid has turned into a successful, full-time business supplying beautiful animals, healthy foods, and useful  products.  The success of Matt’s business is built on rock-solid integrity and stellar customer service.  Keep scrolling down to read more about Matt and how Pangea got started.

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In 8th grade, my science teacher started a project to get some animals into his classroom. I helped out doing some research and figuring out what animal would be best and what that animal would need. It was the late 80’s so there was not much in the way of literature and the internet didn’t exist yet, but we decided on a Ball Python which we picked up at a local store.

It was full of ticks and immediately came down with a respiratory infection. It became my mission to get this animal healthy and after several months we cleared the infection and cleaned him up nicely. He didn’t eat for the first 3 months but eventually started taking gerbils. I had to start breeding gerbils because that was all this guy would eat.

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The gerbil breeding got a bit out of control and I was doing this at home (my mom was pretty cool). I had so many gerbils that I started selling them to the local pet stores for a couple bucks a piece. I later talked my mom into letting me get a Boa which I paid for with my gerbil money, and I guess that’s really how it all started. I’d sell enough gerbils to buy my next reptile and so on.

In high school I got a job at a local pet shop which I continued to work at even after graduation. I started breeding a few species here and there to sell at the shop and when that wasn’t enough I started hitting the regional shows. I was at a show near Detroit that Don Hamper happened to be vending and he had a new, and at the time very rare gecko, a crested gecko. This had to have been about 1997 or 1998, about the same time that I developed my affinity for beanie hats (another story).

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Anyway, I was hooked on cresteds and started buying a few here and there and breeding them. In 2001 I started Pangea Reptile, while still working a full time job. Eventually I was breeding fairly large numbers of crested geckos and doing lots of shows. Enough so that in 2005 I quit my regular job and just did Pangea. It was very lean and scary the first few years but with the snowball approach I was able to build it up and make a solid living. I have since expanded to breeding several different species as well as offering a full line of dry goods including my own product line.

This business is very challenging and very competitive, but I love every second of it.

Matthew Parks

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