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An Ohio Franchise Goes All In On Aquariums


Bill Wymard, co-owner of Aquarium Adventure Columbus in Hilliard, Ohio, a franchise of Chillicothe, Ohio-based Petland, shares his secret for turning first-time fishkeepers into lifelong hobbyists. 

Pet Product News: What advantage does your physical location have over internet sellers? 

Bill Wymard: We feel we can provide a better one-on-one experience. Successful aquariumkeeping requires a good bit of experience, know-how and the ability to communicate it in an easy-to-understand method that involves hands-on demonstration. A myriad of questions always come up during this time, and being able to physically “show” the customer is a huge advantage to happy, successful aquariumkeepers.

PPN: What are the top-selling products and livestock in your store? 

Wymard: With 350 aquariums full of fish, plants and invertebrates, we sell a lot of everything. Marines are hot right now, along with freshwater GloFish, freshwater shrimp, snails and live plants. We are the only place in town with a wide variety of live plants for freshwater aquariums, and plants add an extra dimension to the aquarium experience.

Hagen Fluval LED lights, desktop aquariums and filters move very well along with Underwater Treasures decorative ornaments and plants.

PPN: What are you favorite products and livestock right now? 

Wymard: We really like all of the new Underwater Treasures decorations—great assortment and design along with beautiful colors. Aquaglobe has a new line of fantastic driftwood from around the world that is super great for setting up planted aquariums. And to go with those planted aquariums is the new Samurai Soil from CaribSea.

We have a “fish geek” section where we keep freshwater specialty fish (i.e., rasboras, rainbows and other oddballs) and invertebrates (shrimp, snails and lobsters).

PPN: What trends have you been keeping your eye on most closely? 

Wymard: Desktop aquariums have really taken off, and we carry a large selection, up to 25 different styles and sizes. These are great for mom, dad and the kids!

PPN: What is your best tip for turning first-time fishkeepers into repeat customers?

Wymard: This is easy—make them successful! One must take the time to teach the new aquarium owner from top to bottom all they need to know—setting up the aquarium, establishing the biological filter in the aquarium, the ongoing maintenance of the aquarium, and then finish with fish husbandry to ensure proper care. 

PPN: What business challenge are you currently in the process of tackling?

Wymard: Digital marketing with an emphasis on mobile phone platforms is currently on our radar.

PPN: What business goal are you hoping to achieve this year?

Wymard: As with most retailers, we are looking to expand our customer base and get more people into keeping fish for the first time, with a strong focus on families and their first aquarium.
Being a franchise, we also are constantly looking for great franchisee prospects to open new Aquarium Adventure locations and expand our reach to create successful aquariumkeepers.

Aquarium Adventure Columbus At a Glance

Bill Wymard, co-owner with his wife, Sandy, of Aquarium Adventure Columbus in Hilliard, Ohio, a franchise of Chillicothe, Ohio-based Petland
Years in business: 20 
Type of business: brick-and-mortar
Special services: design and installation of custom aquariums, including free on-site consultation in the home or business

Get an inside look at Aquarium Adventure Columbus in our gallery below.

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