UPTOWN — A new pet shop could be coming to an empty storefront at 4131 N. Broadway, in Uptown.
A sign on the door of the storefront says that a store called "Curious Creatures" is "coming soon." The sign, which includes a cartoon of a turtle and snake, touts the pet store as "your reptile destination."
The owners listed for the shop, according to the Illinois Secretary of State's Office, are Andrew Babbitt and Alison Pelletier, of Evanston.
Beither Babbitt nor Pelletier was reachable for comment Wednesday, and Curious Creatures' opening date was unclear.
Reptiles sales are growing nationwide.
More American households now own reptiles than ever before, according to the American Pet Products Association: some 5.6 million households reported having 11.5 million reptiles in 2013.
"Demand for reptiles since the 1990s has skyrocketed," says John Mack, a breeder.
Writing in Pet Age magazine, Mack said there was a 68 percent increase in reptile sales between 1994 and 2008.
Mack writes that, for pet shops, selling reptile supplies is where the profits are.
"One could compare the practice to that of a home printer: Even if you're not making money selling the printer, you'll more than make up for it on the ink," Mack says.
According to the Pet Product's Association's 2013 report, household pet ownership in the United States broke down this way (by millions):
Freshwater fish: 14.3
Small animals: 6.9
Saltwater fish: 1.8