I figure I would say hi and chime in on some stuff. I lived in the Milwaukee area all my life so I been to most of the pet stores in the Milwaukee area.
On the first page Azimuth, mentioned a store on Oklahoma between 76th and 108th, I think he was refering to Fish Factory, but not totally sure, cause I believe there is also one on 76th and Oklahoma. If he he talking about Fish Factory, I believe thats on 93rd and Oklahoma, which I am pretty sure that is the one he means when he said, "...I think it was once a good store, but it looks like the owners just stopped caring." That makes me really wonder what the heck happen there. I remember back when I think around 1990-1993-ish they were really awesome, even in many ways better then Aquatics Unlimited. Then something happen, they dumped almost all thier saltwater stuff, and not much more then a hole in wall mom and pop place at best these days, I think I stopped by a year ago they were still there, its not quite as bad as he made it out to be, but wonder if it will ever try to reclaim its former glory? But since this is a planted tank site, I should mention, even in thier prime thier plants, and plant supplies were slim to none.
Everyone in the Milwaukee area that post online seem to rave about Hoffer's, I been currious how come? Granted I havent been there since 1990/1991 but back then I was mostly doing salt/reef tanks, so I can't say anything about thier plant stuff, but they use to mix sellable (not display) inverts and fish, always made me think huh? But even back then they did have a great selection. But oviously I gotta wonder if that was just a fluke or something as they play host for the local aquarium society, so I think I missed out on thier good points. Just wish they had a better location, be like 1.5 hour trek for me here on the SW side of town
Aquatics Unlimited... Well they are Big and on the SW side of town, so I shouldnt complain :P but I will, the guy who said when he asked if they could get something, they still blow you off and tell you to call or come back another day. They do tend to have great selection of fresh and saltwater fish, supplies, but expensive (but we all mostly mail order or internet buy anyways, right?) thier plant selection is ok but not great. They do have some really smart people there but the smart guys seem to be a bit arrogant, so I like to stick to thier average employees, they seem more friendly, I can get plenty of the good info from the people here
Ok seeing that I rambling with over opinionated babble, I just wanted to mention a place that so far has gone unmentioned, and that is Pet World, (now I think its called Pet World Outlet). I think they have several locations in the Milwaukee area, but not totally sure, I have only been to the HWY 100 and Oklahoma store in the last few years. They tend to have a nice selection fresh and saltwater fish/inverts. They seem to have the best price on supplies, but again mail order/ internet for the win, when shipping time isn't an issue. Thier plant selection seems to be poor, maybe if more people start asking for plants they will improve that, as I know personally they really strive for excelence in thier saltwater stocks. But most importantly if your in the area and got some time to kill, they tend to run some very nice display tanks, if you get a chance check out the displays (the display tanks dont change often or very rarely at best, but they are definately worth seeing at least once).
Also those of you from Madison, how are the display tanks in the LFS there? Are they cool enough to check out cause with the weather getting warmer, definately a good reason for a road cruise.
Hopefully I didn't hurt anyone too much with a brutial attack with the wall of text but, I figured I would toss out some opinions to stur up some extra Wisconsin discussion.