The second most popular hobby in the United States is tropical fishkeeping. Today, nearly one-in-eight U.S. households keep fish as pets - up from one-in-twelve in 1996. Aquarium and pond fish are the most popular pets in America, and the home ornamental fish population exceeds 200 million species.
Aquarium Adventure was founded on the premise that the aquatic customer has been poorly served by the established retail stores that sell tropical, marine and outdoor pond fish and the accessories to support them. One third (32%) of current fish owners purchased their last aquarium from a local mom and pop pet shop, 22% at Wal*Mart, and 16% at a pet superstore (Petsmart or Petco). 80% of the water garden enthusiasts bought their supplies at garden centers, home improvement centers and discount stores. The mass merchandisers like Wal*Mart and the big-box home improvement centers provide a self-service environment and do little to train and educate the fish consumer.
Aquarium Adventure is a wholly owned subsidiary of Petland, Inc. The founder of Petland, Inc., Edward Kunzelman, has established a 150-store chain of retail pet stores that began in 1967. The impetus for the founding and growth of Petland was based on information Kunzelman gathered from visiting hundreds of retail pet stores throughout the United States and observing the following:
- A poor selection of pets and tropical fish.
- Sub-standard store presentations including store fixtures, housekeeping, and sanitation.
- A low level of customer service delivered by poorly trained and poorly led employees.
This premise led to the successful opening of Petland stores in 34 of the United States, and in international markets including Japan, South Africa, Canada, China and Chile.
In 1995 Edward Kunzelman began working with Bill Wymard, a marine biologist and franchisee of Petland, on developing an "aquatics only" retail store. Kunzelman and Wymard could see that there was a demand for an aquatics only retail store in major metro markets that were not being served by Petland stores nor established aquatics retailers in the market.
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The Aquarium Adventure business model, a large format superstore, is focused on the following features and benefits:
- The largest selection of aquariums in the metro market offering every size and color combination with price points from under $10 to over $5,000 for an individual aquarium, along with all of the support equipment needed to enhance and enjoy any given system.
- An area of the store dedicated to the garden pond hobby. Large selection and variety of all necessary outdoor garden pond supplies and accessories to build all types of outdoor water features.
- The largest selection of tropical, marine and pond fish in the market, offering many more selections than any competitor in the market. The fish, plants, and invertebrates are presented in the finest aquarium displays that are entertaining, educational, and zoo-like assuring the customer that high quality animals would be sent home with them.
- Delivering customer service and education by well-trained tropical and marine fish experts.
- Establishing through strategic pricing, a presence that not only makes Aquarium Adventure the best looking and best stocked store, but also the best value on products for the customer.
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Aquarium Adventure delivers high service levels from well-trained associates who engage the customer, which leads to acquiring specific products and fish that enhance the customer's interest and satisfaction with their aquariums and/or ponds.
Aquarium Adventure associates are taught sophisticated aquatic husbandry skills and are required to use and promote them. These skills and practices are passed on to our customers to enhance their success in their hobby, which builds a strong sense of loyalty and maximizes the very high lifetime value of an aquatic customer. The combination of the unique store design, the top quality fish and plant selection, the merchandise mix, and the Aquarium Adventure associates provides a bond that the customer can trust.
In addition to the sales from aquatic animals and aquatic accessories from the retail store location, Aquarium Adventure offers service business from designing and installing customer aquariums and outdoor or indoor ponds in commercial and upscale residential venues. This service can also include the regular on-going maintenance of commercial and residential aquariums and ponds. The Aquarium Adventure service department also facilitates the sales of equipment and aquatic animals to their customer base.
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