Along the Mother Road
Owner of Little Amazon, Linh Nguyen, holds iguanas on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Seattle.
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Owner of Little Amazon, Linh Nguyen, holds iguanas on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

How Seattle's other Amazon found a home on Aurora

Originally, the Nguyens were fish breeders, supplying the region’s pet stores.

Aurora Avenue North was good for that: Highways are where you want to be if you distribute stuff.

Aurora’s also the center of a neighborhood, and that's one reason they've been able to keep Little Amazon Fish and Pets operating for 23 years.

There are nursing homes not far away, and North Seattle College is just up the street. Apparently students and old people both like pet fish.

“A lot of the local neighborhood - they can walk to the business," Owner Linh Nguyen said.

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Plus, there are restaurants nearby with big fish tanks in the dining area.

The neighborhood hasn't gone upscale, like some neighborhoods have. “Luckily, we have a very good, good landlord," Nguyen said. "They don’t raise up the rent every few years, you know.”

But 23 years? That's a long time.

“What do you like about selling pets?” I asked.

“You know, you talk to them, they don’t talk back," Nguyen said.

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But then Dexter, the bird (I didn't ask what kind), scolded her.

“Oh, now you talk!" she said.

Little Amazon is roughly one year younger than Amazon.com. Which brings up another reason Little Amazon may have survived so long: It sells things that you can’t get on the online retailer's site, like "jellies" and "fuzzies."

Those are the names for live baby mice, named for how much hair they've developed. These ones aren't for necessarily for raising into pets.

“Feed them to my snake. Snakes-s-s-s!” said one customer.

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Much more housing could be coming to Aurora, thanks to zoning changes on the horizon.

That could mean a lot more snakes to feed — and higher rent for Little Amazon.

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