Hey everybody. I was surprised to find this much information about GR stores on this forum, it's been helpful. I thought I'd give my impressions of the stores I've been to around Grand Rapids.
This is one of the best stores I've been to for fish. Their selection on fish/marine is very good, and the people there seem to know their stuff. The only downside to this place is that their selection of plants is somewhat lacking the 3-4 times I've been there. I did get some Jungle Val (Vallisneria americana) there, and it's been growing great. They will also do special orders for their customers it seems.
I found there staff great but prices a bit high and not to many plants
Petsmart (Grand Rapids)
Thankfully, I can say that this Petsmart staff knows their stuff. There are usually the same 3 girls working in the fish section, and they all give sound advice to people that I've heard. For some cheap fish products, this store may not be a bad stop. The fish selection is pretty good, prices are of course good, and the health of most of the fish is incredible compared to most chains. Their plant section is decent, but nothing to rave about. I am happy that I was able to find a Hagen CO2 system there, although it was a bit pricey ($30). If all petsmart were like this, the chain would probobly be in high standing to hobbyists. (Just need those information signs changed!)
Great for a common tropicals fish, but plants are lacking prices aren't to bad.
Pet Supplies "Plus" (Grand Rapids)
As the name suggests, it isn't exactly what I would call "plus", but you can get some good deals on aquarium equipment/ornaments that you might not be able to find anywhere else anyways. The definetly get some weird fish in their store, so for fun it may be interesting to at least check it out. The health of the fish is pretty bad though...
Great for supplies and dog food but lacking for fish is an understatement
Chow Hound (Grand Rapids, 28th ST)
Since this store was recommended in this topic, I decided to take a visit. To be honest, I was disappointed. People said their plant selection was good, but I found it to be only a little better than usual. The one guy that waited on me did not impress me, and seemed more interested in demonstrating the carnivorous fish than helping out customers. He also said that the SAE listed as Flying Fox were indeed Flying Fox, they clearly weren't. Fish selection was subpar, but the plants they DID have seemed to be in good health, so I will give them that.
Got some unique fish here I found horse head loaches, and albino bristtle nose pleco , plants a bit lacking I think they are getting out of freshwater as the salt water section has expanded.
Just got back from there tonight, I went there hoping for a better plant selection than the other VIPets, and thankfully they did! I was also glad to see a large bow-front tank fully planted on display, looked like it was taken care of well. I purchased 1 Java Fern (3.99) and 12 Dwarf Saggitarius ($5.00 total), the Saggitarius was a very good deal! They didn't have a massive plant selection, but it was definetly better than the others I've been to. They even had Riccia, which I was quite surprised to see. The staff also convinced me not to buy Riccia since I only had 2.5wpg, which I'm glad because I forgot of it's light requirement. Overall, I recommend this store for plants! Fish were in good condition as well!
Nice planted tank in the front but that is it. They would sell anything in that tank and selection a month ago wasn't the greatest.
I have yet to visit Aquarium Services, but that will be my next stop. Hope you guys find this information helpful, any questions just ask.