59 May 2016 Pet Product News International
By PatrIck DoNstoN
aquatic Experience Chica- go 2015 took place last fall (Nov. 6-8) at the Schaum-
burg Convention Center in Amer-
ica’s Windy City. With every-
thing aquatic under one roof, this
show is gaining prominence due
to the amazing aquarium exhibits
featuring fish, coral and plants.
Especially promising is the
attendance numbers, and the
World Pet Association’s ideology
of promoting networking within
the whole industry for growth.
What I found enlightening
were the learning opportunities
offered to retailers through scheduled meetings, open discussions
and seminars. Prominent shops
from the South, Midwest, East
and West were all there taking
part, conversing, networking
and exchanging ideas in hopes to
build better business practices.
The retail panel forum dis-
cussion topic was “defining who
we are”; our place within the
industry and how we can gain
relevancy. Suggested strategies
were shown to highlight what we
brick-and-mortar retailers have
that e-commerce does not, and
how we can utilize these opportu-
nities to our advantage. Passion-
ate ideas flowed throughout the
90-minute session that touched
upon everything from service
to fish selection to suppliers and
merchandising. Even the “fish
guarantee” policy was debated.
During the State of the Industry forum, we heard from
the Pet Industry Joint Advisory
Council and the aquatics committee on the proposed laws and
regulations affecting the indus-
try. We discussed public mis-
conceptions and groups that are
working against us. We heard
from the aquatics committee
about its agenda for the upcom-
ing year and what we retailers
should be doing to communi-
cate with our clients in hopes
of “creating an awareness that
their hobby is in danger.”
A special retailer roundtable
discussion also was held in hopes
of bringing a group together. The
objective was to formulate a plan
of action to help brick-and-mor-
tar retailers succeed. Subjects dis-
cussed included distributor and
manufacturer pricing policies in
relation to brick-and-mortar re-
tailers versus fulfillment policies,
minimum advertised pricing and
how retailers can aid in control
and support of certain manufac-
turers, classes for a certification
program to educate about best
business practices, along with
teaching husbandry objectives
in order to certify professional
aquarists, developing serviceable
staffs our clients will need and to
convey/emulate a philosophy of
”creating sustainable ecosystems
for future generations to enjoy.”
The industry starts with us
operators. Please do your best
to attend Aquatic Experience
Chicago 2016—I promise you
won’t be disappointed. The industry needs you, as well as
your thoughts and ideas, so that
we can position ourselves to be
better equipped to compete. If
we do, as a group we just might
be able to gain relevancy.
Patrick Donston writes the blog Fish
Absolutely for Pet Product News and
is the owner of Absolutely fish in Clifton, N.J., one of the largest retail fish
stores in the state and one that is exclusively an aquarium center, carrying no other live animals except fish.
His store houses more than 9,000 gallons of marine fish and invertebrates,
as well as 5,000 gallons of fish from
around the world.
A Meeting of the Minds Not to Miss
The industry starts with us operators.
Here’s why you should make plans now
to attend Aquatic Experience 2016.
By DavID a. Lass
store name: Something Fishy
address: 1185 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick, R.I. 02886
store manager: Dan Hosmer
store owner: Kurt Harrington
store size: 3,000 square feet, 50 percent retail, 50 percent storage/service
staff: All are full time
sales tanks: 50 freshwater, total about 800 gal.; 40 marine, total about 2,000 gal.
Display tanks: 8; a 350-gal. custom with 120 sump; a 500-gal; “raceway”; a 400-gal.
“Amazing Reef Display”—corals older than 5 years old—most not trimmed except
when they have to be. Other display tanks are in the front half of the store, which is
set up as someone’s home, with a full living room and a kitchen, a dining area and
aquariums as they would be in a home.
DaN Hosmer taLks sometHINg FIsHy
David Lass: your “philosopy” on keeping fish in glass boxes?
DH: Our vision is to share the influence and energy of aquariums with as many people
as possible, because we believe aquariums move people in amazing ways.
DL: What is your store store known for?
DH: Quality of the fish and invertebrates, the knowledge of our staff and the pleasant
environment for customers to shop in. Our business is split between retail and
DL: How do you get first-timers started?
DH: New hobbyists are very important, and it is critical that all first timers succeed
with their tank. We have developed a protocol for customers to set up their first
aquarium. The two primary objections from a potential new hobbyist are 1.) cost and
2.) time to maintain the tank. At Something Fishy we always explain to new hobbyists
that we are not the least expensive place to buy their first aquarium, but we are the
best. We have protocols for getting customers started with a new tank that requires
only 45 minutes of maintenance every two weeks.
DL: What would you like to add to/in your store?
DH: More space and a dedicated system for acclimating new fish. We would like to
have our retail sales tanks have only fish that are ready to go. Don’t like to have to say
“these fish just came in and need to rest a bit” or the like.
BETTER KNOW YOUR LOCAL
FISH STORE: SOMETHING FISHY
At Something Fishy in Warwick, R.I., display tanks are in the front half of the store,
which is set up like a home, with a full living room and a kitchen, a dining area
and aquariums as they would look in a home environment.
sPectrum BraNDs offers its upgraded marineland magniflow canister Filter. Designed with the fishkeeper in mind, it
includes multiple advanced features that make both freshwater
and marine aquarium success quick and easy. The multistage filtration unit offers a top-sealing canister lid for a watertight seal, a
self-priming and spill-free setup, total mechanical, chemical and
biological filtration with Stack N’ Flo filter trays, and speedy maintenance. It has a three-year limited warranty.
atLaNtIc Water garDeNs presents takIt0400 and
takIt0800, outdoor aeration kits for water gardens. The
TAKIT0400, for water gardens up to 1,000 gal., provides 4
LPM at 3 ft. of depth and includes 20 ft. of 0.25-in. tubing,
a check valve and a 4-in. ceramic air stone. The larger
TAKIT0800, for water gardens up to 2,000 gal., pushes 8
LPM through two outlets at 3 ft. of depth and includes two
20 ft. 0.25-in. airlines, check valves and two 4-in. ceramic
air stones. Both pumps feature weatherproof housings, re-placeable diaphragm cartridges and a three-year warranty.