Andy Vaughan accumulated extensive knowledge of reptiles and amphibians throughout his life – keeping snakes, lizards and scorpions as childhood pets and accumulating knowledge about them. Decades later, everything is back to square one.
After purchasing and relocating a reptile store in Washington in April, he and his wife Mona now want to help Norman residents and beyond — from hobbyists to professionals.
For more than 30 years, herpetologists and reptile breeders around the world have sought supplies and expertise at Bean Farm, which began in 1991 in Carnation, Washington.
While their business may be new to Norman, Norman has a long family history as a hematologist.
Andy’s grandfather, Charles Carpenter, was a world-renowned herpetologist.
According to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, “Chuck” is known for his work on reptile behavior and has won several awards, including Oklahoma State Scientist of the Year in 1991.
“My uncle was also a herpetologist, and my mother was a college biology professor [the University of Oklahoma],” Vaughan said.
Andy, whose family is engrossed in science, said he naturally developed an early interest in animals, especially amphibians and reptiles.
Mona said Chuck’s research paved the way for his children’s careers in ecology and herpetology, and has been an inspiration to Andy and herself.
Andy and Mona chat with Paola and Giovanni Fagioli through some networking during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resident of Carnation, Washington, started Bean Farm as an e-commerce business in 1991, but later planned to retire and sell the herpetology business.
It was a simple and seemingly accidental decision, and the company is now headquartered at 105 S. Porter Ave.
Mona handles marketing and administrative tasks, while Andy handles the back end, fulfilling orders, and providing expertise.
While they haven’t officially opened as a storefront, they already have customers from all over the state looking for bulbs or reptile food, Mona said.
“Certainly, herpetology is very niche. However, there’s a lot of demand for it across the U.S., and we’re finding a lot of interest in the Norman region,” Mona said.
Currently, it is only used as a warehouse for reptile and amphibian supplies, which are sold to zoos, professional reptile breeders and hobbyists, among others. But Mona and Andy’s vision is to make Bean Farm even stronger.
By spring, they hope to have a storefront expansion connected to the warehouse. With the coordinated construction east of downtown Norman, Andy said they wanted a community area where others could meet.
“If we had a patio for reptile lovers to hang out and educate, we would sometimes invite people from college to talk, like an art walk. We wanted to be a part of that,” Andy said.
To browse or purchase supplies and learn more, visit Beanfarm.com.