After being initially overlooked, Northern Ireland store Maidenhead Aquatics in Belfast has been nominated Regional Winner in 2023 Readers’ Poll.
Late Readers’ Poll win for Maidenhead Aquatics Belfast
Maidenhead Aquatics at Belfast has been retroactively recognised as the Regional Winner for Northern Ireland in the 2023 Practical Fishkeeping Readers’ Poll.
An editorial oversight at the time of the poll results announcement meant that despite ranking as one of the UK’s Top 40 aquatic stores, Maidenhead Aquatics Belfast was originally overlooked for its rightly deserved title. Following discussions with Maidenhead staff and observant PFK readers, the title of Regional Winner is duly and proudly granted to the store and its team.
Store manager Owen Hood comments: “The team were thrilled to receive the award as 2023 has been a difficult time for businesses and customers alike.
“We made the decision in early 2023 to really go to work on expanding our temperate species carried in store to create a more affordable entry point into the hobby that has been well received, we saw an uptake of a nearly 30% increase for the demand in temperate species at the Belfast store than in 2022.
“For this reason, species belonging to Gymnogeophagus and others have become staples in our stores here in Northern Ireland.”
Visitors wishing to see the store in person can find it at Hillside Nursery Centre, County Antrim, 328 Doagh Rd, Newtownabbey BT36 8XL.
What is the Practical Fishkeeping Readers’ Poll?
The Practical Fishkeeping Readers’ Poll is an annually run contest where PFK readers vote on their favourite stores anywhere within the United Kingdom. The Poll includes several categories, including: Retailer of the year; Online retailer of the year, Independent retailer of the year; Marine retailer of the year; Coral retailer of the year; Aquascaping retailer of the year; Catfish retailer of the year; Cichlid retailer of the year; Oddball retailer of the year; Discus retailer of the year; and Pond retailer of the year.
Winners are then also declared regionally, and a Top 40 list of stores with the most overall votes is announced.
Related article: See the results from the 2023 Practical Fishkeeping Readers' Poll
As well as announcement in the magazine and online, winners receive a formal certificate to display in store. Winners of multiple categories receive multiple certificates.
All readers who vote in the Poll are automatically entered into a prize draw, with a selection of aquarium goodies to be won each year.
Why does the Readers' Poll matter?
For aquatic retailers, coming top place in one (or more) of these multiple categories is a badge of honour. But more than that, it’s also a huge ‘thank you’ to hard working teams working what is often a thankless job.
Aquatic store workers strive to offer the best advice possible, working tirelessly over long hours to keep their livestock in perfect shape. The Poll matters to the sales assistants and weekend algae wipers as much as it matters to the managers and store owners, and for some, there’s no higher praise.
For hobbyists, the Poll is a way to formally congratulate their stores of choice. The Poll results also produce a list of noteworthy stores around which aquatic roadtrips can be planned.
The 2024 Poll will open somewhere around late summer. To keep up to date on all the latest news and Readers' Poll announcements, be sure to subscribe to our monthly Practical Fishkeeping newsletter, follow our Instagram or Facebook page for announcements and much, much more.