One of the UK’s best known aquatic stores is to close this March.
Aquajardin in Gloucestershire has traded for nearly 30 years and the closure will result in the loss of 15 jobs.
The closure is down to Aquajardin and the Dobbies Garden Centre, the site owner, being unable to reach an agreement on a new lease. An increase in rent was the final nail in the coffin, owner Peter Wheeler told gloucestershirelive.co.uk:
“I started the company in 1993 trading from a small glasshouse and quickly became well established.
“In 2005 we were offered the opportunity to move into the prestigious new development constructed by Jardinerie/Blooms. This was incredibly exciting for us and an opportunity to create my dream flagship aquatic centre.
“Many of my staff have been with me for over 20 years and have become professional specialists in their own field. I am extremely proud of the team and will be forever grateful for all their dedication and achievements.
“Sadly after 27 years we have been unable to reach an agreement with Dobbies to renew the lease. Their decision to increase the rent has made the situation for us financially untenable.
“Over recent years trade has become more difficult particularly with the growth of the internet. To try and maintain our market position we have had to cut costs and steer the business towards more specialist areas.
“We have achieved this with great success, however the size of the premises, the rent and the rates have become a major challenge and Dobbies’ request for a rent increase was the final nail in the coffin.
“We tried to negotiate for a smaller unit to help reduce costs but this was turned down.
“As a company, we will endeavour to locate new premises and re-establish the business, but given the time scale we have to vacate the building this will not be an easy process.”
“For now I must offer my sincere thanks to all our customers who have continued to support us over all these years, without them we would not have survived this far. On behalf of my staff and I, thank you.”
“Unfortunately, we could not reach commercial terms with Aquajardin and as a result, their outlet within our Gloucester centre will close by the end of March and we wish them all the very best for the future.
“Pets Corner will also no longer trade from the centre.”
Big loss to the industry
Those fishkeepers who know Aquajardin and its four stores in Gloucester, Newent, Fareham and Southampton, will know them for the quality of their displays, dry goods and wet displays, in and outdoors, and the professionalism of their staff.
Proprietor Peter Wheeler was on the OATA board for over twenty years and keeping hold of aquatic retail staff for as many years is testament to the qualities of both the man and the business.
Aquajardin was one of the UK’s pioneers of planted aquariums and the use of CO2 injection. The stores were always spotless, stocked with quality livestock and brands and Gloucester was a store you would have no problems in recommending any fishkeeper to visit, tropical, marine or pond, beginner to the seasoned aquarist.
Fishkeeping News hopes that Peter and his team can find a solution, and wish them all the best for the future.
Visit the Aquajardin website here.
More of Peter’s interview with GloucestershireLive here.