The Aquarium Boutique, a one-stop shop for all things aquarium, is going out of business.
Yuki Shinoda, a Lake Highlands High School graduate, opened the store 12 years ago in the old Boutique Pet Store space on Garland Road, which had been open for over four decades.
Shinoda cited financial issues, some of them brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and ecommerce, as the reason for the store’s closure.
“It wasn’t lucrative enough for me to stay in it,” he said.
Shinoda, whose father attended Woodrow Wilson High School, has been interested in aquariums since he was a kid. A former Spanish teacher, he decided to open his own business because of his love for the hobby.
He used to visit Boutique Pet Store when he was growing up, and The Aquarium Boutique was named to pay homage to the old business. One of the pet store owners even worked with Shinoda at The Aquarium Boutique for a few years.
The Aquarium Boutique specializes in installing, maintaining and servicing tropical fish aquariums and custom aquariums. It sells fresh water fish and plants, and saltwater fish and corals, a one-stop shop for beginner and intermediate hobbyists.
Shinoda said he’s happy that he was able to provide job opportunities to people over the years. Moving forward, he’s thinking about returning to teaching. But for now, he continues to run the store.
Merchandise is 20% off, and sales will increase until everything is sold. Shinoda said he hopes to be out of the space by July 1.
“Our main missions were essentially that this hobby is so good for people in general, teaching knowledge and patience and love for nature and science,” he said. “Coming from my teacher background, I wouldn’t ever have gotten into a business that I didn’t think was good for society. And I also didn’t want it left up to the big box stores, the Petcos and the PetSmarts. But at a certain point, I can’t keep going just through passion.”
The Aquarium Boutique is located at 9035 Garland Road.