As you go through downtown Bryan, Ohio, you are greeted by the town's beautiful Court House on the square and the small businesses surrounding it. Just off of the square on North Main Street is a little shop called LaBo's Aquatics. I'll admit, I'm not super familiar with aquatic pets, but there is so much more to this family owned small business. Walking through the doors you are brought back to hometown values and great friends.
Shop owners, Dustin and Crystal LaBo, have been amazing friends of ours for many years. It has been a blessing watching their dreams grow and seeing them work so hard to accomplish them. Dustin has always loved aquatic life and got started in the business by cleaning tanks and things grew from there to selling aquatic life out of his basement, to finally opening their own store in April, 2015 at 106 North Main Street in Bryan, Ohio.
LaBo's takes pride in their vast saltwater collection and has the ability to teach you how to properly care for your saltwater tank. They will educate you on what fish can live together in the same environment, which can not, and they make sure your water is safe for them. Dustin and Crystal are very knowledgeable in their Seachem product line for both freshwater and saltwater tanks. If you are new to aquatics, they will walk you through everything you need for your setup.
Aquatic life isn't the only thing you will find at LaBo's! New to the shop are a few reptiles and even more recently, PUPPIES!
Call LaBo's at 419-633-0555 to see what puppies they have available today! Dustin, Crystal and their family devote a lot of time to taking care of the puppies they have at their shop. The puppies go home with the family every night so they can start on their house breaking, leash training, and become accustomed to being around children and other dogs.
Dustin and Crystal take pride in running their business with Christian morals and values. You are greeted with smiles and the sound of WBCL, a Christian radio station, playing in the background. To them, it is more than operating a business, it is about family. Crystal says it has truly brought their family closer together. It is not uncommon to see their kids Dominic, Kaitlyn, Gavin, and Emma with them at the shop. It teaches all of their kids the value of hard work and the value of good customer service.
Emma, their youngest daughter, wanted to sell sea shells at the store all on her own. Emma did quite well with her sales, making Mom and Dad very proud. What they didn't expect was to find out that Emma had taken all of her hard earned money to school one day and donated it to a good cause helping other children in need. Emma has learned to be giving by the example her parents have set for her.
Dustin and Crystal have always been giving and caring of others. Having their own business has made it possible to give back to the community on a different level. During the 2015-2016 school year, LaBo's saw the importance of guiding the youth in our community to focus on success and education. In support of Right to Read Weeks at local schools, they asked children to come into their store with their favorite book and sit down and read to them. And if the child wasn't able to read, they would read to the child. When they were done they could pick out their very own Betta Fish to take home with them at no charge. LaBo's had roughly 200 children visit their store to read from Bryan, Stryker, Archbold, Montpelier, and Fountain City Schools. This year they plan to extend their offer to even more school districts.
To continue to give back to the community LaBo's Aquatics has put together a program to assist deserving military families. With help, LaBo's is able to gift not only a full fish tank set up, with installation, but many other complimentary services from other businesses in the community, including a Complimentary Family Session and products from Creatively Five Photography!
Dustin and Crystal would like to acknowledge the businesses that made donations to their military families. In addition to Creatively Five Photography, they received donations from
Josh McCann with Custom Cleaners
Sarah Espey Spieth with Curves
Steve Franz with Franz Karate, and
Ken Harris with Double H Barbecue
If you know a military family, in Bryan or the surrounding area, that you would like to nominate for this gift, please contact Dustin at LaBo's Aquatics while gift packs are still available!
When you visit LaBo's Aquatics you will be met with quality, variety and amazing customer service. You arrive as a customer and leave as a friend. Dustin strives to create an environment where his customers can come in and not only learn about their purchases and how to care for their aquatic life, but also an environment where he can learn about his customers and their needs. Dustin says, "If you have never been in our store we want you to know that this is a fun place, with no pressure. We are honest. If there is a problem with your sale, we will make it right. And, we are knowledgeable about the products we sell."
Because of the amazing service and knowledge Dustin is able to offer, he serves customers from all over the tri-state area and beyond. If you are in the shop and your town isn't marked, put it on the map!
I asked Dustin and Crystal's kids to show me around the shop. They each had their favorite things to show me. I was introduced to Dominic's favorite, the banana ball python, Gavin and Kaitlyn's bearded dragons, and Emma's favorite pick of the day, the mandarin goby fish.
It was difficult for Dustin to pick his favorites in the store but he finally settled on two, the scolymia coral, shown below and his freshwater tank he has on display. He says it is a work in progress but he is enjoying slowly putting his own personal touches on display in his tank.
So, next time you are in Bryan, Ohio make a special stop at LaBo's Aquatics to say "Hi!" and leave having met a new friend! In the meantime start following LaBo's Aquatics on facebook and stay updated with all the amazing things that happen at LaBo's!