30 years on hobby is now a thriving business

A Burton business which started as a hobby in a family’s living room is now due to celebrate its 30th year anniversary.
Byrkley Aquatics, which was set up in Rangemore in 1986 by husband and wife duo Maureen and Herbert Bareja, is holding a celebration weekend of events on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th April to mark three decades of the family business.
A former pig farmer 69-year-old Herbert started selling fish as a hobby from his living room at the former Laundry Cottage on the site of what is now St George’s Park.
A few years later, Herbert’s living room hobby became a business as the couple decided to rent a small shop space within the garden centre and on Good Friday 1986 opened Byrkley Aquatics.
Mum-of-two Maureen said: “When we started it was quite a small room and it was just full of fish tanks. You accessed the shop from the car park and we just had peg boarding for hanging the aquatic items on.
“I think we were both pleasantly pleased how the business gradually grew. We built it up fairly gradually and in the 1990s when the garden centre was refurbished they built the large greenhouse area we have now and changed the access to be through the garden centre.”
Now three decades on the couple will be holding a weekend of events to thank their loyal customers old and new with experts on hand to give aquatic advice and up to 30% discounts in store.
The couple, who pride themselves on their knowledge, expertise and going the extra mile for customers, have always kept it a family run business with the couple’s two daughters, Dawn, 36, and Claire, 41, both working alongside their parents.
During their 30 years at the store there have been many changes with the business surviving three recessions and a rise in pet supermarkets.
Maureen, 62, puts their success down to the fact that they have always focused on providing expert advice and service to their customers.
She said: “When we started there weren’t any of these pet supermarkets there are today. Luckily we have a very loyal customer base. I still remember our first customer, who bought a tub of fish food. I think we are different to some of the chain stores in that we offer a personal touch and first hand expertise.”
A truly family run business the Bareja family mainly staff the business themselves. However, due to seasonal growth are now also looking for another member of staff to support the team.
More information is available at www.byrkleyaquatics.co.uk or by calling 01283 712924.
The store will be open from 9.30pm until 5.30pm on Saturday 16th April and 10.30am until 4.30pm on Sunday 17th April.

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