By Pamela Rohland
A pet project that began as a way to keep busy after retirement is paying off for Richard Brisky.
"I heard about hedgehogs, and that appealed to me," says the former sales and marketing professional. In 1993, Brisky, now 64, bought four of the prickly animals and let nature take its course. Before long, he had 60 breeders and a batch of baby hedgehogs, which he sold to local pet stores for about $35 each.
"After the first litter, I was hooked," says the Franklinville, New York, entrepreneur, who has added sugar gliders, monkeys, rats, mice, flying squirrels, chinchillas, ferrets and other exotic pets to his line.
Brisky also enlisted a pet-food company to help develop a line of 10 exotic pet foods, Accu-Feed, now sold in pet stores and via his Web site.
Brisky says exotic pet breeders can make $50,000 to $100,000 annually. Although he won't divulge specifics, sales at Brisky Pet Products are multiplying as fast as the "pocket pets" he sells.