Do you like fish? Did you tend the family aquarium when you were a child? Stace Bleich did, and now he’s turned his love of fish into a successful business called Aquariums by Design Inc. He designs and installs aquariums. His company also services, maintains and moves them.
When he started the business on a part-time basis in 1997, he was working as a manager at the Aquarium Services store in Kitchener.
The store sold aquariums and aquarium products, but there were customers who also wanted their tanks cleaned and maintained. Bleich figured he could earn some extra cash by providing that service.
“I didn’t even know if it was going to be a legitimate business, but I kept getting more clients,” he says.
Finally, four years ago, he and his wife Jaime, who does the books for the business, decided there were enough customers to turn Aquariums by Design into a full-time enterprise.
Today, the company is still providing maintenance, but also does sales, design and installation.
The company has five people on staff, plus a cabinet maker on contract who makes cabinets for custom built aquariums.
Each maintenance staff member has a “route” to provide weekly and bi-weekly cleaning and maintenance for fish tanks and bird aviaries across a wide swath of southern Ontario.
Bleich tries to maximize the number of stops on the routes as much as possible.