Following nearly 30 years in business, Gary’s Pet Jungle (2857 S. Howell Ave., 414-744-3338) will soon be closing its doors once and for all. Opened by owner, operator, and namesake Gary Johnson, the pet and pet supply retailer has served animal lovers in the Bay View neighborhood and beyond since July of 1994. Sadly, the store’s days are numbered, as Johnson plans to end the business in the next few months.

We spoke with Johnson—who does not own the property where his business has existed for nearly three decades—at Gary’s Pet Jungle on Sunday afternoon. Though he declined our interview request, he confirmed he intends to shutter the store in the near future. A closing date has not yet been determined, but Johnson tells us the end of his Pet Jungle could be as soon as the next month or two.

Johnson, who currently runs the store on his own and serves as its only employee, says he’s not sure what’s next for him, but he has no plans to reopen Gary’s Pet Jungle elsewhere. As the store winds down, Johnson is selling his remaining inventory of pet supplies, as well as fixtures, shelving units, and glass cases. You may also purchase reptiles, birds, small mammals, and freshwater fish as availability allows. The store’s hours are currently 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Not only is Gary’s Pet Jungle one of the few remaining vestiges of “Old Bay View” in the ever-changing neighborhood, it’s also one of the region’s only remaining independent pet stores.

While what’s next for 2857 S. Howell Ave. is unknown, we’re fairly certain it won’t be anything like the quaint, hyper-local, and character-laden specialty pet retailer that has been a local fixture for generations. Stop into Gary’s Pet Jungle while you still can to say farewell and to help Johnson clear his stock as he prepares for whatever might come next. Goodbye, Gary’s. Bay View won’t be quite the same without you.

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.