Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew Bunya – Ananta.
Andrew, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Aquariums and Tropical Fish are practically part of my DNA and for as long as I can remember my world has been filled with them. My grandfather was a pioneer in this industry importing tropical fish in the 60’s. My father had multiple aquarium stores throughout his life in Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks, and Simi Valley. I have wonderful memories growing up in my father’s Tropical Fish store. I was fascinated with the array of fish and still vividly recall feeding Japanese Koi by hand when I was 5 years old. Growing up in this magical environment and working for my parents at the age of 12, prompted my passion for Aquarium Design and Entrepreneurship. I have spent my entire life devoted to learning this business and love designing, installing and maintaining aquariums for a wide range of applications and clients, from simple fresh water tanks for the entry level hobbyist, to elaborate living coral reef aquariums for the exclusive homes of celebrities, professional athletes and business executives to custom displays for businesses, and set pieces for motion pictures.
In 2007, At the age of 22, I opened my first store in the city of Thousand Oaks, California. The company quickly took off and our design and maintenance business was growing very rapidly. Our expansive showroom featured natural aquariums and showcased a Living Reef Aquarium, a Shark Tank, Jellyfish systems, and Freshwater Planted Aquariums. The indoor displays were complemented by a beautiful Koi pond outside.
In 2010, we shifted our business approach and closed our showroom to focus our efforts and resources on direct personalized customer service for our growing clientele as a mobile operation.
In 2014, my parents were losing their 18-year lease for their beloved Tropical Fish Store and were planning to retire and close operations of their Simi Valley location. In response, I decided that if I was going to open another Showroom and keep our loyal following happy, I would need to act very quickly. I literally had 6 months to organize the closing of my parents’ store, find and lease a new location, and get all of the Life-Support systems and store layout completely designed. It was one of the most challenging experiences of my entire career, requiring long hours, and blood, sweat and tears, but just a half year later we were open for business at our East Los Angeles Avenue location in Simi Valley.
Today in 2017, I am happy to report we are one of the fastest growing Aquarium companies in Southern California. We have designed, installed and maintained aquariums from Santa Barbara to San Diego, employing a team of 12 employees with plans for more. We are excited about what the future holds for The Aquarium Connection and will be proudly celebrating our 10-year anniversary this summer!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Operating a business is no easy task. I have endured a number of struggles and heartbreaks along the way. The key is to never give up. Being positive and optimistic is essential. Loving what you do will ultimately fuel personal success. If you work harder and smarter than your competition there is a point where you stop chasing the business and the business starts to chase you.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Aquarium Connection – what should we know?
The Aquarium Connection specializes in Aquarium Sales, Design, Installation and on-going Maintenance. I am proud to have a showroom where our clients are inspired to create their dream aquarium. Our customers are our top priority and appreciate our nearly 100 years of combined industry experience and knowledge. We strive to offer the information and expertise that will ultimately deliver our clients success and great personal satisfaction with their aquariums.
Each customer is unique and addressing their individual needs is fun and creative work. We have provided aquariums for movie sets and high-profile events and have collaborated on TV show installations for Animal Planet’s TANKED, including the whimsical rocket shaped aquarium at Rocketfizz in Camarillo and the rustic wagon aquarium at Malibu Wines. We work closely with our clients to design fresh and salt water aquariums of every size and style to meet the specific requirements of each residence or business.
I believe that Aquariums have a therapeutic effect. Installing an aquarium in a home or office reduces stress, lowers anxiety and provides an uplifting and fascinating focal point of “living art”. We pride ourselves on recreating ecosystems that replicate natural environments, giving the animals the best possible chances of success, while having an organic, artistic look and feel.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I believe one of the characteristics of my personal success is the commitment to never give up. There have been several times through my 17-year career I almost threw in the towel. Each business has ups and downs. Many entrepreneurs have great ideas yet fail to see their vision through to fruition. I am the first to admit I have fallen hard several times, I have gotten back up each time stronger and smarter. Business is always evolving and it is important to adapt to the changes that are inevitable.
I am happy to report that we are a socially responsible and charitable company. We are actively involved in serving our community and are always looking for ways to give back by supporting local sports teams, fine arts programs, and schools in need of supplies or other assistance. One of our largest scale service projects was donating many hours of our time to build a full-fledged aquatic lab for a deserving award-winning school. We take pride in giving back to our community, educating people about the fragile beauty of the aquatic world, and making a difference.
We are excited to announce that we will be dedicating a large section of our store as a public aquarium for local schools to have field trips and learn more about aquatic life and our responsibility to protect the environment.
At the end of the day, I love aquariums and the serenity they bring to me, and to my clients. Building this business has been a very rewarding experience. I continue to develop my vision one aquarium at a time. I love what I do and I love the people I get to know and serve through this wonderful work.
- Aquarium Service rates starting at $85/hr.
- Aquarium Design Consultations. Special rate of $75 per visit new customers only. Ventura and LA areas only. Call today for more information!
- Free Aquarium Quotes with mention of this article. (1) -Quote per Customer
- New Customers receive (1) Free betta per family with mention of this article. In- store pickup only
- 10% In- Store Discount with mention of this article. One time purchase only.
- Address: The Aquarium Connection
1663 E. Los Angeles Ave
Simi Valley, CA 93065
- Website: THEAQUARIUMCONNECTION.COM
- Phone: 805 497 3444
- Email: INFO@THEAQUARIUMCONNECTION.COM
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aquariumconnect/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aquariumconnect/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/aquariumconnect
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-aquarium-connection-simi-valley