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Extreme Aquarium shop specializing in exotic aquatic

Published on

Cathy Dobson

When Nathan Malott did a market survey before opening The Extreme Aquarium, even he was surprised by the number of avid fish fans in Sarnia.

“I found a whole lot of people in the fish hobby, some with three to eight tanks,” said Malott. “The president of the Sarnia Aquarium Society has 30 tanks and many people have fish rooms in their basements.”

Malott, 43, has had fish since he was a little kid and has always wanted to open a shop to cater to salt and fresh water fish hobbyists.

“I’m also tired of driving to London for everything,” he said.

So this winter Malott devised a business model that satisfied the loan requirements of the Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation and fit his schedule as a full-time sales person at Patene Building Supplies.

His survey of 100 people showed more than 90% of potential customers hold down jobs and prefer to shop in the evenings and on weekends.

“It’s perfect for me because that’s when I’m available too,” he said.

Malott’s store opened in early April on Rosedale Avenue with nine tanks of fresh water fish, nine tanks of salt water fish, a coral display tank and turtle and tortoise tanks.

The store carries a wide variety of fish, like fancy guppies for$6.99 a pair and tetras for $3.99 each.

But Malott is attracting customers by bringing in more exotic fish the chains seldom have, like baby saber tooth barracudas. They have a full set of teeth, grow to be a foot or more and sell for $49.99.

He also has a wide variety of salt water fish. Different types of clown fish, for instance, sell for anywhere from $19.99 each to $110 each.

One of his tanks contains extreme stock like a baby sulcata tortoise, priced at $650.

“These aren’t for everybody,” Malott explained. “They live to be 100 years old.”

He also carries baby yellow belly cooter turtles for $69 each that will grow to be eight to 11 inches.

“I’m a small store and I want to keep people’s interest,” he said.  “I’m getting a lot of really different stuff in and generally bring in new fish every week.” If he doesn’t have it, he’ll order it in, he added.

Malott also believes his knowledge and personal attention will build a customer base.

“I don’t make a sale just to make a sale,” he said. “I want everything in my store to go to a good home.

“And, as much as I’m in business to make money, I’m also a hobbyist and I’m here to help.”

The Extreme Aquarium sells dry goods as well including protein skimmers, lighting, test kits and tanks.

The store is located at 782 Rosedale Ave. Hours are Wednesday to Friday 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.  Call 519-328-7226.

Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or call 226-932-0985.







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