About Coast to Coast Exotics, Darlington.
All you need to know about the company, the staff and how we conduct ourselves!
We are open seven days a week 10am til 5.00pm, except Sunday when we are open 11am til 3pm.
We are open 11am til 4pm on Bank holidays.
Our address is 122-124 North Road, Darlington, County Durham, DL1 2EJ. We are on the A167, the main road into Darlington from the North of the region - right opposite Morrisons and B and Q supermarkets.
For those planning a day trip remember that Darlington is a nice market town with a good selection of modern and unique independant stores and has a good reputation as a thriving shopping high street. Its a quaker town with a vast history, much is entwined with the railways - for those that appreciate social history its a teasure trove.
Having said that, due to our cental location its easy to visit the coast, other shopping areas such as Leeds, Metro Centre and Newcastle, the beauty of the Durham Dales or Northumberland and many of the ancient history sites and more recent history attractions. York is a wonderful medieval city, with amazing olde worlde shopping streets and wonderful Minister - closer still is Durham with its castle and Cathedral.
Its worth mentioning that we are planning a quite unique incentive to visit us, and some other choice reptile shops in the North East for a day trip for the avid reptile keeper - watch this space!
We were formed, as a business in 1993 as a result of Kevin Stevens (me!)childhood hobby. Kevin Stevens is a name that has been around for almost as long as the hobby, and certainly was at the forefront of the modern hobby even before the formation of Coast to Coast Exotics in '93. Breeding reptiles become a huge passion, with one of the largest private collections (even to this day) ever kept in the UK - the basis for Coast to Coast to be born. A member of the IHS since 1980, with a newsletter advert placed in 1981 (I still have it!) for Midwife toads, this lead to a greater involvement with the Society until in the early 1990's a committe postion was taken along with the job of Herptile Editor. I was mentored by many of the great reptile keepers such as John Foden and Kevin Hingley. The membership voted me to become President in the mid '90's. Involvement with Chris Newman started in the late 80's, leading to support of each other in various ways - until nowadays my eventual involvement with the FBH and REPTA - both are organisations protecting our hobby / industry and our right to keep reptiles in captivity. Some of the great names that helped my in my quest for knowledge in the early and earlier days included Nick Nyoka, Dave Lester and Chris Mattison.
Coast to Coast Exotics was one of the first modern reptile shops and paved the way for the blue print of many a UK reptile shop. Before then, most of the shops were general pet shops, and had little attention to detail, cleanliness, displays and / or approachable help and advice. We decided to run our shop very different, and indeed had many of the requirements of the Animal Welfare Bill 2006 were already in place in the mid 90's - more than 15 years before the law caught up! It has evolved over the years, and still does. We have always been proud to offer a huge range of animals, and although we have been involved with colour morphs from the early days (for example Coast to Coast Exotics, Kevin Stevens gets a thank you in Bill and Kathy Loves' Corn snake Manual) we have never allowed our herpetological passion for "interesting" (often Wild Caught) species from around the world - its taken a long time but our reputation for obtaining species that no-one else can get is well earned. Quality of our animals is second to none.
Nowadays, we are one of the only UK shops that houses a huge amount of their animals in expensive, but excellent, Herp Tek and similar vivaria - we don't have any melamine faced vivaria with their inherant hygiene / cross contamination problems. We are still one of the only ones with several large walk in style vivaria, much like the ones in Zoo's. We have followed a programme of introducing themed rooms such as a Nocturnal room, Desert room and Rainforest room. Our animal list has to be the largest in the UK with the greatest selection - and a visit can take all day to study all the vivaria. We have several "difficult to find on public display" species for you to view from Beaded Lizards to Caiman Lizards - from Meerkats to Dwarf Caimans - too many to list here!
Education is paramount, not only are all of our staff passionate reptile keepers, but we have a computer system packed full of information for customer use, a TV display system showing husbandry techniques and reptile natural history. All of our vivaria are marked up with indepth keeping guides for the species contained. Every sale comes with a detailed care sheet, and as much time as you need with one of our advisor staff as you require to fully explain everything you need to know.
We still breed many species, to maintain our reputation of our grass roots reptile and amphibian breeding projects - many of the articles wrote by Kevin Stevens (don't forget thats me!) that have been published in the various journals and magazines are still the shining light for many species - prime examples would include his work on False Water Cobras and also Amazon Milk frogs.
We currently have excellent, passionate staff - all have gone through our extensive training, but most have either qualifications are great experience. For example, Stuart Dodsworth of The Reptile Trust fame, Samantha Stewart who has been at Coast to Coast (on and off) for nearly all of the 20 years we have existed.
We have excellent parking around the shop, and now have a designated loading area for our customers - thanks Darlington Borough Council!
Although we have great pricing for both animals and associated equipment (with surely the only comprehensive array and almost certainly the largest choice and stocking levels - thanks to our wholesale business, Zoo Logic) we also provide a great Reward Card Scheme that has proved incredibly popular - with Newsletters, special deals and a point collecting system to earn further discounts.
Don't forget that Coast to Coast Exotics goes on its "road show" every year on the Show Circuit with attendence of all the IHS Doncaster Breeders Meetings, the FBH Breeders Meeting and also the Durham IHS show, which is organised by Kevin Stevens (that's me, don't forget!). We are the now famous, and huge stall thats very orange, very impressive and in the corner at Doncaster with great prices! We also sponsor the Official Programme for the IHS Doncaster Breeders Meeting.
We have a huge following that belittles most (if not all) of our competitors Facebook pages with a huge amount of followers. Its becoming a highly regarded one stop source of whats happening in the reptile world with most of the "big players" in the scene following us. We are currently working on a live Twitter feed for the new website, due for launch February 2013, this will be more or less a purely "Kevin Stevens" blog - its often said that I am too secretive (or miserable, depending on your view point!) - so we are hoping this will lend an insight into the hectic life of one of the leading shop owners that is heavily involved in protecting our hobby and industry.
Thats about it, keeping it short!