It was a daunting task, but Bill Wymard said he and his employees were up to it.

Their mission, which they chose to accept, was to relocate the business Wymard founded almost 20 years ago from its West Dublin-Granville Road site in northwest Columbus to a strip center on Fishinger Boulevard in Mill Run near Hilliard.

But this wasn't just any business.

Wymard and his wife, Sandy, opened Aquarium Adventure in June 1997 intending to "showcase the largest and best selection of tropical, marine and pond fish in the country," according to the company's website.

Most people think about packing up their belongings and moving to another residence, and then think about pretty much anything else.

Bill Wymard thought about moving all those fish and tanks and other inventory, and decided to go ahead.

"It was a huge project to move a 12,000-square-foot store and all those tanks and the fish and the equipment, but that's what we do all the time," the Dublin resident said. "We pack and move fish every day."

"It was a monumental job," according to Wes Champlin, store manager for the past 14 years.

"Our old location, we were there for 20 years," Wymard said. "Our lease was up and we had to make a decision about what to do or where to relocate. We decided Mill Run was a great location for us."

The relocation project required a great deal of planning, said Wymard, who is a marine biologist.

"You have to think about all the things that need to be moved and the time frames," he said. "You have to think out six months ahead when construction is going to be finished, when aquariums are going to be set up, when fish are going to be moved.

"The timing of all that is critical, and as much as you plan six months out ... there are always speed bumps that come your way that you have to work around."

Items moved from one site to the other over the course of nearly a month included 500 aquariums, some of them quite large, along with various displays and fixtures.

"We broke one tank, one big display tank," Wymard said. "Actually, it didn't break during the move. It was set up, and about a week later, it developed a crack. It had to do with the furniture stand it was on, which over 20 years had become warped. That was the only casualty we had."

"We moved a lot of rock and gravel, a lot of weight there," Champlin said.

Aquarium Adventures personnel handled the move with no outside help.

"We did it all in-house," Wymard said.

"They gave us their blood, sweat and tears," Sandy Wymard said.

Aquarium Adventure is a division of Petland Inc., but it is independently owned and operated.

The store has two dozen employees, Sandy Wymard said, some of them with expertise in the field of marine biology similar to that of her husband.

"We hire people with fish expertise and teach them retail, and we hire retail people and teach them fish," Champlin said. "There's a certain responsibility that comes with bringing in animals from all over the world."

"Half of what we do is retail, but fully half is education," Sandy Wymard said. "We work closely with schools."

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1