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Aquarium Retail Holdings Plans Changes for Fish Store, Eyes Expansion

Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2010, 6:16 p.m., EDT

Aquarium Retail Holdings Inc., which currently operates an aquarium retail store in Tamarac, Fla., under the Big Al’s franchise name, plans to begin operating the shop under new name Allfish Emporium on July 1.

Aquarium Retail Holdings CEO Scott Nash said the franchise agreement with Big Al’s Aquarium Services of Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada, ends at the end of June. As a result, Aquarium Retail Holdings has opted to continue operating the fish store as an independent retailer. The company also plans to open a full line retail store under the brand name Allpet Emporium.

“We decided we’ve built up enough of a customer base here that we could start our own brand and build brand equity,” Nash said.

As part of the rebranding effort, the 20,000-square-foot Tamarac store will undergo an interior renovation. The renovation project entails reconfiguring the front of the store, which houses the dry goods, such as fish tanks, filters and fish food, to allow for more shelving and merchandise. The store color scheme will also change from the Big Al’s red, yellow and blue color combination to an orange and blue color combination. The back part of the store, which houses 370 aquariums of live fish and other aquatic animals and plants, will remain pretty much the same, Nash said.

Although the Tamarac store is undergoing many changes, one thing Nash said the company wants to keep is the store’s reputation for having a large variety of fish and other aquatic animals.

“That’s what the store was built on, and we want to maintain that,” he said.

Aquarium Retail Holdings plans to branch out from the aquatic segment by opening Allpet Emporium in southern Florida in early 2011. An exact location had not yet been chosen.

Nash said Allpet Emporium will carry dog, cat, small animal, reptile and bird supplies in addition to aquatic supplies. The store also will carry live fish, reptiles and small animals. However, Nash said, the focus will remain on aquatics.

“We feel like our edge is that most of the full line pet stores specialize in the dog and cat area and sort of dabble in the fish side,” Nash said. “We will be putting more of an emphasis on the fish side than the typical full line pet store.” <HOME>

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