As a teenager, Dan Gerlach worked at Wisconsin Garden and Pet Supply.
His father owned the store. And now he owns it with his brother Bob.
But after 68 years in business, the shop plans to close this summer as the Gerlach brothers retire.
Dan Gerlach said what he’ll miss most is easy: the customers.
“They take care of us, and we help them as best we can too,” Gerlach said.
Dan’s parents, Chuck and Eileen Gerlach, opened the business in 1954 at Lefeber and North avenues in Wauwatosa. At the time, the business was just a pet store.
After a few years, the store began to sell plants and gardening materials. And in 1958, it moved to 8520 W. North Ave., where it remains today.
The rest is history.
“The community continues to support our business extraordinarily well,” Bob Gerlach said in a news release. “The past year we have been busier than ever with demand for home, pet and garden products all at record levels, and the business continues to thrive.”
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The company focuses on offering higher-end, often locally based pet foods, including Fromm, which is based in Mequon. Many of the plants are from local sources as well.
You can find just about anything at the store: pet supplies, houseplants, lawn tools, vegetable plants, fresh produce, pumpkins, mums, poinsettias, decorated wreaths.
There’s a retirement inventory clearance sale underway. The store is scheduled to close July 31.
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Dan Gerlach said he will finally be able to work on his own garden now. He also plans to travel, spend time with his family and play with his dog.
But he’ll still miss the customers.
“They’re always so friendly and they’re here buying things for their passions, their pets and their gardens,” Gerlach said. “They’re always nice and upbeat and enthused about what they’re buying.”