Erin and I decided there was no better day to stop by a new store for a review then the first day they were open. Not only the first day, but within the first few hours
Immediately after we walked in, we knew we were lucky to have such a store in our area.
Even on the first day, the store was extremely nice and layed out with employees and customers zooming about, feasting their eyes on the overwhelming displays of tanks, equipment, and accessories. This, even before they made their way into the splendidly large and amazing livestock area.
Within minutes of walking around (with a camera), the owner (Bob) made his way over to us and asked us in a friendly/joking manner with a smile, "Writing a book?" We explained that we were from www.dvaga.com
(and briefly explained what we were about), and his eyes quickly lit up
On the first day within the first few hours, he dropped everything to show us around his amazing store.
He was more then proud of his electrical setup, his fully plumbed RO, salt, and freshwater outlets at every station!!!! We talked further about his history and his life in the area and the hobby. He told me about how he was affiliated with LFS's in the area for decades back (sorry for hinting at your age Bob
). He explained to me some of his frustrations of what we find in LFS's and what he wanted to do to address the issues with his new store.
Here are some pictures of the amazing store.
Nestled in a shopping mall, the store is very large in both width and in depth.
A view of the expansive store.
A counter full of all the electronic goodies that we love.
Even though I'm not one for plastic decor, it still sparked the kid in me seeing this little setup.
Even for being open one day, you can tell that preparations were being made for months prior by this already thriving salty.
Here is the opening to the very large fish room. The Exit sign is funny, don't expect to do this for a long time once you go in there.
This is the very large shark tank. The do live feedings in this thing. I imagine that is very interesting to watch
The planted section was just getting set up. As a matter of fact, Erin and I helped them name many of the plants they got in. Bob made it a point to tell us he would get whatever we needed
A very cool setup.
The salt section, as for all of the tanks were very new, but showed care. Once things get rolling, I can imagine a great selection even for the advanced hobbiest. We spoke with the managers and they expressed interest in getting some more interesting species to compliment the more popular species. The certainly have room for it.
Each station (grouping of tanks) had a middle section, shown here. Within this secret room, there are taps for Salt, RO, and fresh water that is plumbed through the whole store. The electric setup is a marvel.
Here is the huge RO unit that feeds the store. Where do I get one of these?
Overall, I have to say we were impressed from the get go. I spoke with Bob at length about things he planned to do and what type of experience he brought that would help him accomplish these things. He is certainly a man with knowledge and charisma. While I was running after his fevered pace of showing off his "toys", he was managing and instructing his new staff. Very funny and promising.
We expect great things from this store. Big Al's is a great name, but it still needs a captain, and Bob seems to be a man on a mission. He showed open support for our club and our hobby. We truly appreciate that, and will do our part to help him provide information on our niche in the hobby.
I hope you have a chance to visit Bob at Big Al's.
Big Al's Philadelphia
2876 DeKalb Pike
East Norriton, PA