New shop merges owners' love of cats and fish
Old Lyme — Roderick and Kyra Seurattan's new shop in the Old Lyme Marketplace is just the catfish's meow.
Okay, so maybe they don't have a cat, but there is a cat – their honorary employee Mylo, an Egyptian Mau – along with cat toys and more than 100 types of fish.
The Purrfect Aquarium was born of two loves of the couple, who met more than a decade ago working at The Children's Museum in West Hartford. In a building where everybody liked animals, Kyra did planetarium work while Roderick worked in exhibits.
"There's probably no correlation between cat owners and fish owners," Roderick acknowledged. He said the name came from Kyra's stepdad and he "thought it was just perfect, no pun intended."
They opened their shop, a soothing experience if you like the surround-sound of gurgling water, on June 16.
The timing and location was in part to fill the void left when Shoreline Pet & Aquarium, formerly in Old Saybrook, closed in May.
Fish range from about $1.99 to $100, with the typical freshwater fish coming in around $8.99, Roderick said.
The store is broken into sections like goldfish and koi, fish from Africa, and fish from South America or Asia. The Purrfect Aquarium also sells GloFish, a brand of genetically modified fluorescent fish. Roderick says he hand selects the fish from distributors in New Haven, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
The aquariums in the store range from 1.5 to 24 gallons, though Roderick said he could order larger ones.
He is still working on the saltwater section; he has found there are more saltwater and reef hobbyists than he expected. The Purrfect Aquarium also plans to do e-commerce, mailing cat food or litter to people.
As their love grew, so did their number of cats and fish
Roderick was born in Trinidad and Tobago but moved to West Hartford around age 4 or 5, while Kyra is from Essex. Both are now 31.
Their first pet together was a cat they adopted, and then they got an aquarium that Kyra's father wasn't using. Now they have five cats, four of whom are rescues.
Mylo hangs out at The Purrfect Aquarium on Fridays and Saturdays because "he's the only one that's calm enough to be in this kind of environment and won't freak out," Roderick said.
After working at The Children's Museum, Roderick began working at the now-defunct West Hartford Puppy Center and Aquarium. When they moved to Louisiana so Kyra could work at the planetarium of the Louisiana Art & Science Museum, Roderick worked as an aquatic specialist at Petco.
The couple returned to Connecticut four years ago because they missed certain things about the state, like the changing of the seasons, and skiing.
Roderick said he learned what he knows about freshwater fish from the owners of Sea Horse Pet Shop in Westerly, two brothers who used to work with him at the Puppy Center.
"The vision for this place is to be affordable enough for everyone to have an aquarium," Roderick said. He added, "I always say that there's a fish out there or an aquatic organism that somebody will like."
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