Little Leona’s, the eclectic pet store nestled in the woods off State Road in West Tisbury and home to all manner of tropical fish, reptiles and small furry creatures, is closing its doors on Dec. 31.

Owners Vivian and Frank Flanders started the store 15 years ago.

“I loved it from the get-go,” Mrs. Flanders said.

“There’s so much work for both of us to do, we decided it was time,” she continued. “It’s time to slow things down and get back to doing other stuff.”

Mrs. Flanders was born on the Island and grew up in Oak Bluffs. She and Mr. Flanders were married in 1973 and have two children, Rebecca Clements and Frank Flanders Jr.

Shortly after they married, Mr. Flander’s parents gave the newlyweds a piece of land off State Road in West Tisbury. Instead of building a house on their new property, the Flanders moved a fishing cottage from Edgartown to the land and have lived in it ever since.

The idea to open a pet store came from Mrs. Flanders’ daughter Rebecca and her friend Nancy Britt. Mr. Flanders graciously offered his workshop space and the rest is history.

The name Little Leona’s is a tribute to Mrs. Flander’s mother and granddaughter. She said her mother was an animal lover, and her granddaughter “had the same attitude as my mother, so we used to call her Little Leona. That’s how the store got the name.”

Over the years, if you were looking for a small, fluffy or colorful pet, odds were you could find it at Little Leona’s. Mrs. Flanders said she has carried mice, hamsters, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, sugar gliders, chinchillas, turtles, snakes, fish and parakeets at her store. She said right now there’s a national shortage of hamsters, parakeets, mice and crickets.

“I think part of it is people went out and bought a lot of stuff at the start of the pandemic.”

In all her years in the pet business, Mrs. Flanders said some of her best-sellers have been her salt and freshwater fish, reptiles and the supplies needed to care for them. Her favorite memories include all the kids who came to the store.

“I loved to listen to the kids laugh,” she said. “I had one little kid come in one time and he was looking at one of the snakes and he said, ‘Look! It’s an anaconda!’ There was another little girl that came in and her father told her not to put her hands in the fish tank. She turned around, looked at him and said ‘But it has my name on it, Dad!’”

Island kids would often come to Little Leona’s just to watch the animals.

“It was nice for us because we could see them grow up and now they’re graduating high school.”

As the next chapter awaits, Mrs. Flanders said she’s looking forward to relaxing, clearing her calendar and remembering what it’s like to have a private yard once again.

“Fifteen years is a lot of time. There are no days off, every animal needs to be fed or cleaned or something else every day.”

At the same time, Mrs. Flanders said she will miss her customers.

“People are really appreciative and I’m really going to miss that,” she said.

The shop will be open until Dec. 31 during normal business hours: Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.