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Moreno’s Feed and Pet Stores
Moreno’s Feed and Pet Stores owner Leroy Moreno took over the operation from his father. These days, his own children, aged 26, 22 and 18 are beginning to show some interest in eventually taking the business on.
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Moreno’s Feed and Pet Stores
Moreno’s is one of the last places in the region to sell live chickens. They also offer puppies, rabbits, hamsters and, occasionally, more exotic pets.
Moreno’s Feed and Pet Stores have become an icon in the Valley. With locations in Donna and Weslaco, the business has served the needs of local pet owners, farmers and others involved in animal husbandry since 1979. Owner Leroy Moreno took over the operation from his father. These days, his own children, aged 26, 22 and 18 are beginning to show some interest in eventually taking the business on. Taking care of animals – and taking care of others who take care of animals – seems to run in the family.
Moreno credits much of his current success to having grown up on a small ranch outside of Donna. “I’ve been raised in the industry since day one,” he said, adding that taking care of animals has been the first priority of the day for him since he was very young. “It’s a different way of life,” he says, expressing excitement at the recent trend back towards people raising chickens and other livestock.
Billing themselves as “The best place in the area to pick up chicks,” Moreno’s is one of the last places in the region to sell live chickens. They also offer puppies, rabbits, hamsters and, occasionally, more exotic pets. Moreno, who himself owns a collection of pythons, considers counselling potential pet-buyers a big part of his job. He stresses that putting the right pet or livestock animal with the right potential owner is more important than making money. He makes it a point to clearly communicate with potential buyers to make sure they understand what taking care of a given animal involves. “What we have always preached through the years is responsible pet ownership,” says Moreno. “Educate yourself before you purchase any pet.”
Moreno says that putting the animals’ and customers’ welfare above profit has contributed greatly to their success through the years. “One of the reasons we have survived is our emphasis on taking care of the animals,” he says. “The animals are more important than a quick buck.”
While all of that has undoubtedly contributed to the success of Moreno’s, it’s clear within two minutes of speaking with him that his passion for animals and their care is also a large part of his success. “I dread 6 o’clock,” he said. “Not that I don’t want to leave and spend time with family, but I love it so much here.” He says his father taught him that he would “never work a day in his life” is he focused on doing what he loved to do.
Moreno sees pet ownership as therapeutic. When not at work, he gives back to the community by volunteering his time – and animals – to provide pet therapy at retirement homes. He stresses that anyone who takes on a pet is really taking on a new family member – in most cases, one that will be with you for a long time.
By Scott Rutherford