Every single day of every single week i find myself lusting after a local fish store, desperate to visit and desperate for that saltwater fix.
In the UK we have a vast range of excellent shops to chose from. Many give excellent advise and a great place to meet up and converse with like minded hobbyists. We make friends and spend many hours holed up inside spending pennies we shouldn’t be spending.
Our local fish stores are one of the most pivotal and important aspects of our hobby as without them, we have no hobby and supporting them is so very, very important.
Some stores seem to stand out just above the parapet to me and Exotic World in Winlaton near Newcastle is one of those stores.
As a keen social media participated (is that a thing?) i regularly see its owner Chris Pow active and helping other people. In our current age of internet and social media, i think this is immensely important and so it immediately fills me with confidence when i see an owner take pride and make that extra effort to reach their customers.
Chris and Exotic World always seem to go that little step further, and that one step extra to keep a customer happy. Nothing is too much trouble and if they don’t have something you want, they will get it, quickly!
The store opened in 2001 and was founded by Chris himself. It initially opened as Crawcrook Aquatics before expanding into 2 stores with the second becoming Dunston Aquatics. After a short time Chris expanded again to become Dunston Exotics before moving into his next much larger premises Blaydon Exotics. Chris store later renamed as part of its move to a brand new 3000sq ft store that youll find today Exotic World. The store as the name suggests is a specialist in exotic creatures NOT just fish. With a host of creepy crawlies, Snakes Lizards and Spiders, if you have a love for anything exotic, they probably have one in here! – Theres a rumour now that I’m scared of such things, and id like to lay it on record here and now that this rumour is 100% absolutely and positively, most definitely accurate. Eeeeek!
What grasps my interest is the marine section, something Chris and his team are working so incredibly hard on establishing. With over 25 years experience in the store you can see that they know what they are doing.
Much like with the social media presence, customers are well looked after and nothing is too much trouble. There are bays of corals to peruse and plenty of tanks adorned with beautiful specimens of fish.
The dry goods selection is excellent, shelves adorned with many products you’ll be familiar with, including lots of new ranges only just released. Its always great to see a store support new products and invest their time and energy into learning more about them and not only just to sell them. Every time I’ve quizzed Chris on a range, he’s known exactly what hes talking about. Its almost like an Episode of The Chase, I’m still yet to win!
If your not lucky enough to live in the close proximity a BRAND NEW website is about to go live, where you can purchase both dry AND live goods to your hearts content. Having got a sneak peek, im looking forward to its launch!
I’m a fussy buyer and probably more critical than i should be, but this remains a shop ill visit with excitement at what lies in those fish holding tanks for sale!
I remain so mightily impressed by this store, that both myself and Exotic World have decided to team up, form a dynamic duo if you like, almost Batman & Robin esque (you can guess which one is which), and Exotic World will now be sponsoring DansReef.co.uk. This means that you can expect to see even MORE of Chris and his team and that i am lucky enough to basque in their magnificence for a little while longer.
Rumour has it they also makes a decent brew if your there long enough, and customers who take their own biscuits get an extra special grin from Chris’s always smiling face!
If you want to see more you can check them out on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/Exotic-World-1439709646075904/
or visit them in person at Exotic World, 14 Knowledge Hill, Winlaton, NE216AL
A fantastic local fish store, something we should all be proud to love and support.
Happy Reef keeping.
As a lifelong adult hobbyist, making it almost 15 years in the making, Danny has been keeping Saltwater for quite some time. As one of the biggest passions in his life in 2014 he combined that with his second biggest passion, photography and videography.