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The Aquarium and Pet Shop II, 2734 Devine Street: 1970s   10 comments

Posted at 11:53 pm in Uncategorized

I'm not totally sure this is the storefront I want, but I think I remember that angled main entrance, and if it wasn't this building, it was somewhere nearby, but anyway when I was small, there was a pet store here.

I generally can't go in pet stores now, they make me too sad, but when I was a kid, I didn't think about the "big picture" and was just fascinated by all the animals. Pet stores were all over. There was one with puppies in Columbia Mall, one at Trenholm Plaza and even Woolworth's had fish, turtles and gerbils. If I recall correctly, the one on Devine had lots of fish, but the real reason we liked to walk down there after piano lessons at Haven's Music was because of the bird.

I'm not sure what kind of bird it was now, but it sat on a high perch just inside the front door, and could talk. Sometimes it would volunteer something as you walked into the shop, at other times you had to prompt it, which you could do by saying "Pretty boy, pretty boy" in a sing-song cadance. Generally after you had done this a few times, it would perk up and say "Awk! Pretty Boy! Pretty Boy!" back at you.

I don't believe the bird was for sale, I had the impression that he was the personal pet of the shop owner. From time to time I've wondered what happened to him. Given how long some birds live, he could still be "pretty boy"-ing up a storm somewhere in the midlands..

UPDATE: Commenter Dennis supplies the name of the place as "The Aquarium and Pet Shop II", so I'm updating the title of this post to reflect that.

UPDATE 31 March 2009: Added the 1970 Southern Bell Yellow Page ad (which does not have the "II" suffix on the name).

Written by ted on January 8th, 2009

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10 Responses to 'The Aquarium and Pet Shop II, 2734 Devine Street: 1970s'

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  1. The storefront you are talking about was about a half block closer to Five Points, closer to the old Thompson's Open Air Market. It's all been remodeled into unrecognizeability now.

    The store was called The Aquarium and Pet Shop II. Don the crazy-eyed biker owned it and Seymore ran it. The parrot's name was Herman.

    When developers bought it all to turn it into boutiques for overprivileged Shandon housewives, Don moved the store to that building on Millwood right across the street from Dreher HS. It was there maybe 10 years before Don decided he'd had enough of the retail business and the long hours. Seymore was working at the huge liquor store (now closed) that was at the end of Millwood at Gervais.

    Don't know where Herman wound up. The fun thing I remember about him was that every time the phong rang in the store he'd loudly say "Hello?"

    Don now has a semi-regular column called "Bike Report" about the biker lifestyle in a little racing newspaper called Tracks that you see next to Free Times.


    9 Jan 09 at 7:53 am

  2. Herman! That's right.


    9 Jan 09 at 4:13 pm

  3. Does anybody else remember the pet shop on Bush River Road, just off I-20? It was located between the Radisson Hotel (used to be Sheraton until a few years ago) and the Fuddrucker's, just across the street from the old Circuit City. I remember this particular pet shop having a pretty extensive fish and reptile section. My father and I used to go there all the time.

    Bill C.

    10 Feb 09 at 12:48 am

  4. I do remember it, but never went inside.


    10 Feb 09 at 1:02 am

  5. The aquarium shop was where the ballroom dance lessons place is now.


    6 Apr 09 at 4:19 pm

  6. Thanks! I'll get the right location pictured --- eventually!


    7 Apr 09 at 1:44 am

  7. The Aquarium and Pet Shop on Bush River Road burned a few years ago. All the animals inside perished. The owner, Will Kissam, did a lot of reconstruction to the inside of the shop and talked about reopening it, but that's all I know. As far as I can see of it now, it has not reopened.


    10 Jan 11 at 5:40 pm

  8. Hi: In the 1980's,I lived around the corner from the Aquarium and Pet shop, in those strange one-story white brick apts. on Devine that face an alley, with a two-story house at the end. I lived in the top story of that house. My beloved yellow parakeet had died of a cold in February 1984, and I bought a cockatiel at the pet shop that spring. I had the bird until February 2003, she lived nearly 20 years, very old for a 'tiel. She was a wonderful pet, exactly as predicted by someone at the shop that day.

    She is buried in my back yard. I have not lived in Columbia for almost 30 years, she is one of my few links to those days. I remember the African Grey in the pet shop, and laughing about how he growled. Greys will growl if upset or frightened. I have an African Grey now. I remember it all very well, and think of it often.


    6 May 14 at 11:10 am

  9. Does anyone remember the hotdogs at the original Thompson's near the Aquariam and Pet Shop? It's the only place I've ever seen slaw with no mayo. Pretty good dogs, pour your own draft from taps on the cooler wall, and volley ball out back as I recall.


    5 Jul 16 at 4:00 pm

  10. Thompson's Open Air Market was a throwback into another time. Someone was always manning a sweep broom and cleaning up the aisles and the front entrance. I always liked the awning spanning the store front. Residents would walk for blocks to shop there.

    The aquarium shop had some huge salt and fresh water aquariums with exotic fish that carried high price tags. The owners were especially knowledgeable about animal diseases and various feeds for all their critters.

    Joe Shlabotnik

    7 Jul 16 at 5:55 pm

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