KENMORE, N.Y. — It's the end of an era as one of the oldest family-run pet stores in the country announced it's closing.
After almost 80 years, the Niagara Aquarium Pet Store said the doors will close for good the last weekend of September.
The store was founded in the 1940s by George Szabo and originally run out of his basement at the corner of Niagara Street and Royal Avenue in Riverside. It moved to its current location on Military Road in Kenmore in 1952.
“My Dad George instilled the love of fish keeping for many generations. People still come into the store to share stories about my Dad. Customers say that they were introduced to the fish hobby by their parents who brought them into the store as a child and now five generations have come into the store,” said John Szabo, Owner of Niagara Aquarium Pet Store. “It (Niagara Aquarium) has become part of many family traditions passing down, thru the generations, the love of the fish hobby.”
George was also known for his collection of beloved pets who were known to roam the store and his office, including Petunia the skunk. In 1988, George's son John joined the business and, along with several family members, have continued to operate it. George Szabo remained an active partner in the store until his passing in 2011.
On September 5, the Szabo family held a goodbye party to celebrate all of the memories made over the years and to thank their loyal customers.