Compared to the age of most retailers, TJ Moss is a young pup. But the 24-year-old owner of Fins & Feathers pet store, 134 Monmouth St, Red Bank, has a wealth of knowledge and experience that belies his age.
As a kid, TJ would ride his bike from his Little Silver home to the store four or five times a week to check out the animals and visit with previous owner Helen Davis. When he was finally old enough to officially start working there at age 14, he
continued after school and during summers for the next five years, before leaving to take a warehouse job. But, his love for the business stayed with him, and when Davis called in July of 2014 to ask if he was interested in buying the store, TJ jumped at the chance. He was 22 years old.
The full-line pet store carries all types of fish, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles, and other small pets. TJ does not sell dogs or cats, but offers kitten adoptions all summer – 100 were adopted last summer, down from 250 the year before. (“That’s a good sign people are spaying and neutering their cats,” he says.) He carries an extensive selection of premium dog and pet foods, treats, bedding, cages, habitats, toys, and nearly every other accessory one might need for a pet.
The store also offers dog-grooming services six days a week; an area of the business TJ has doubled since taking over 18 months ago. One of the groomers he employees is his former boss, Helen. “It’s all come full circle,” he says, smiling.
Animals aren’t just TJ’s business, they’re his passion. He has a menagerie of rescued and adopted pets, including a St. Bernard named Doof; a pit bull mix named Panda; a blue-tongued skink lizard named Helga; and a crested gecko named Lil Bro.
“College isn’t for everybody; I get to do what I love,” he says. “I enjoy coming to work every