The photo is of the interior of our customer Aquazoo.
A while back, I blogged about the Demise of Mom & Pop Fish Stores http://goliadfarms.com/demise-mom-pop-fish-stores/ and the impact on our business. That blog received a number of responses. One response was private. It was from the owner of AquaZoo in Houston (okay, between Houston and Galveston). Prosper, the owner, emailed me to point out that not only was his Mom & Pop store thriving but that I’d used a photo of his store and misidentified it as the now closed Amazonia in Austin. I looked through our photo files and found that of course he was right. I promised to blog a correction. Well…I’m finally getting around to that.
AquaZoo (http://www.aquazoohouston.com/) is a longtime customer of ours and, based on their purchases from us, are doing well.
I believe there is a need for local fish stores, such as Aquazoo, that provide their customers with expert advice and healthy fish. I also believe the big box stores are not providing either expert advice or healthy fish. I’ve cringed at the overheard advice clerks in such stores were giving novice customers; advice such as placing a baby Oscar in a 20 gallon tank with neon tetras. I’ve seen fish being sold from a tank with an obvious case of ich and another where the mollies were shimmying and soon to die. I’ve also seen the impact of internet sales of livestock on retail pet stores. Without a vibrant retail pet store industry, I fear for the hobby.
Aquazoo provides both healthy fish and expert advice to its customers and it is thriving as a result. It probably helps that Aquazoo is in one of the largest metro areas in the country with a large population of fish-keepers available. Houston has always had a strong retail sector. I remember in college driving to Houston with a friend once a month to sell killifishes and tour the stores to see what was going on in the hobby. Online shopping doesn’t offer the same opportunity to browse through live fish and picking out one that actually is what you want. Online shopping rarely lets you look through the fish and pick one. The photos are often of superior fish and not the sales items.
I hope future hobbyists continue to have the chance in their home cities of seeing healthy fish being maintained properly and to get the advice critical to success in the hobby.