JOSH’S FROGS OF OWOSSO, the largest breeder of captive-bred dart frogs in the U.S., is seeking to expand at 715 S. Washington Street – the former GracePointe Wesleyan Church location. The Owosso City Council moved to allow for a public hearing on Monday, Aug. 3 regarding the necessary rezoning of the property from R-2 Two-Family Residential District to B-1 Local Business District.

   The plan for the expansion would not allow for retail customers at the new property, which will be a second Owosso location, with a third greenhouse location already in place in Grand Ledge.

   Josh’s Frogs is a warehouse business with an online store offering everything from live insects and exotic plants to unique frogs, with habitat care kits available, as well. The business, owned by Josh Willard, has been located in Owosso on S. Elm Street since 2013. The Elm Street location is not open to retail customers, either, though warehouse pick-up options are available through the website at www.joshsfrogs.com.

   According to Taylor Hedrich, the marketing manager for Josh’s Frogs, the new property will be used solely as an animal breeding facility, allowing the business to keep the animals quarantined in their necessary, bioactive environments.

   Hedrich also shared that the business has “really exploded” since March when the pandemic kicked in. He explained that the company has gone from employing approximately 55 employees to 95 employees, with so many shoppers interested in pursuing new hobbies online. He doesn’t see it slowing down anytime soon, either. Josh’s Frogs has received very positive affirmation from clients.

   Josh’s Frogs began with Josh Willard, who had an interest in developing flightless fruit fly cultures for feeder insects for his dart frogs. Willard wanted cultures that would be more convenient and less stinky. To continue supporting his frog hobby, Willard then sold the fruit fly cultures and related products, and as this proved profitable, he decided to launch his business – eventually moving from his garage to Corunna and then to Owosso.

   The Owosso Planning Commission earlier concluded that rezoning the S. Washington Street property would not “significantly impact the neighborhood” and has recommended approving the rezoning.

   In 2017, GracePointe Wesleyan and Northgate Wesleyan joined congregations and services were eventually moved to the previous Northgate Wesleyan Church location on N. M-52, leaving the S. Washington Street building vacant.

(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)

Josh’s Frogs was last modified: July 14th, 2020 by Karen Elford