Greeley Business Owner Fills the Gaps in the Community

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Pablo Guzman, co-owner of Midnight Oil, showing off a small part of the used bookstore’s collection.

When Pablo Guzman was in seventh grade, he started his first business selling geckos and crickets to his classmates and teachers. His two pet geckos had laid eggs, so he started selling the eggs to people. He realized the geckos needed a consistent food source and started meeting that demand himself. Since then, Guzman has had a drive to start businesses that fill the needs of those around him.

Guzman owns two businesses in Greeley, and spends his free time doing freelance travel writing and photography.

Being born and raised in Greeley, he was motivated to find things that the city was missing and provide those things to the community through his businesses.

The first business that Guzman started in Greeley was Feeders Unlimited. It is in a small brick building on 8th Avenue with the company logo designed from leaves and insects next to the front door. He and his business partner, Paul Kunik, opened the reptile store in September 2016.

“At that time in the market, there were not any rodent breeders or people breeding mice and rats for snakes,” Guzman said. “That’s what I used to do for a previous store, so me and my business partner over there started breeding mice and rats to supply the demand.”

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By filling this gap in the market, Feeders Unlimited has grown to become one of the top rodent breeders in the state, allowing snake owners to keep their pets fed regularly.

The second business that Guzman started in Greeley was the Midnight Oil Bookstore. The large white letter M on the glass helps people recognize it and makes it stand out from the different shops on 10th Street. He and his uncle, Manuel Tapia, opened the used bookstore in October 2021, but the idea started almost eight years ago.

“We were having a drink, talking about different bookstores that we’d been to and we realized that we hadn’t been to one in the city for a long time,” Guzman said. “With my uncle having a background in the book industry and then me having a background in business, we decided we would give it a go and try to start it.”

A lot of people need help finding places outside of their homes and workplaces to make connections to their communities. One of the employees at Midnight Oil, Cherry Martinez, said that, through Midnight Oil, Guzman has successfully created one of these environments called a “third place”.

Originally a term used in sociology, a “third place” is a location for socialization and relaxation that are separate from the two usual social environments of home ( the “first place”) and the workplace (the “second place”).

“I feel like there’s a giant lack of third places, especially for people who don’t drink in any city in general,” Martinez said. “I think the biggest thing for businesses like ours is creating that third space and building that community.”

Guzman opened a lounge area in the basement of the Midnight Oil Bookstore at the beginning of April. He also plans to open a coffee shop connected to Midnight Oil at some point in the future. These expansions allow for the bookstore to reach more people and create spaces for those who need them.

The employees at Midnight Oil pride themselves on the different ways that they set out to connect with their community, specifically through social media. Midnight Oil has one of the most active Facebook groups in Greeley, with new conversations sparking in that community every day.

“I think that social media aspect really does set us apart from other bookstores I’ve seen,” Martinez said. “I mean, I’ve been to a decent amount of bookstores and if they do have any sort of website built or social media, it’s very bare and it’s the most unrelated posts.”

For both of the businesses that Guzman has had a part in starting, he found something that the Greeley community was missing and put effort into finding a solution. Guzman has always had a desire to create.

“Even if I don’t have to work, I’ll generally find something that I have never done before or something that I’m trying to build towards and do that,” he said. “My relaxing is building and it works out really well for me.”

Another aspect of Guzman’s life is his freelance travel writing and photography. He is heavily motivated to travel by his curiosity about different places and cultures. He loves taking pictures of the outdoors and says New Zealand is at the top of the list of places he wants to travel to next for his photography.

Feeders Unlimited is located at 2010 8th Street. The reptile store is open from 9 am to 8 pm on weekdays and from 10 am to 7 pm on weekends.

Midnight Oil is located at 827 10th Street. The used bookstore is open from 10 am to 8 pm every day of the week.

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