Would you sleep in your car in order to see one of Florida's top Local Fish Stores? I did...
Who ever said that you shouldn't mix business and pleasure wasn't in my business. I love what I do and my family is so supportive of what it takes for me to create my unique content. So during our recent summer getaway to Florida I got to visit a few local fish stores.
Our final destination is Orlando but mid trip I ask my wife if its ok if we take a 2 hour detour so I can check out some fish stores in Jacksonville Florida! Mind you its 9:30pm in the morning and we are on the way to our plush resort in Orlando. This is a spontaneous decision and we have no hotel book and I did not call the stores in advanced like I normally do. My wife says "sure". I love that woman!
First stop Jacksonville, FL
Just so we're clear I don't have a habit of driving past exits at night deciding to surprise fish stores, guns blazing, with my film equipment on a whim. There were two reasons I've been wanting to get to Jacksonville. During Reefapalooza Orlando I met Peter and Nancy (Owners of Coral Reef Junkies in Jacksonville, FL). Who sponsored my new Reef Savvy tank. They really wanted me to visit their store and said that the next time I was in Jacksonville I should stop by. I've heard some great things about their store. People actually drive all the way from Georgia to visit it. The problem is, I'm never in Jacksonville and if I didn't make this split decision to veer off my course to resort bliss I would have never gone. The second reason I really wanted to go to Jacksonville was because my good friend Larry Dupont (Owner of LRS Foods and creator of Reef Frenzy) told me if I am ever in Jacksonville I MUST stop and visit a store called Bio Reef. The name of that store alone was intriguing.
My aquarium addictions runs deep.
All the hotels were booked. After checking with the last hotel I had to make the long walk back to the car to tell my wife and daughter that they had no rooms. But my wife and daughter are troopers. So what's even better than sleeping in a hotel or being at our Orlando resort?
Sleeping in the parking lot of a 24 hour Walmart that's what!
It wasn't the best sleep but somethings you gotta do what you gotta do. I kept my friends up to date on my happen's via facebook and apparently someone reached out to Bio Reef at 12AM and told them I was in town (ruining my surprise haha). But Bio Reef actually took the time to try to find some hotels for us. I got a text around 1am from Eddie the owner of Bio Reef letting me know that he found a hotel for my family and I. Now that is some customer service! But at this point we had made our truck home so we toughed it out for a few more hours.
Bright and early on Sunday morning my family and I headed to Bio Reef to get a private viewing of their store before they opened up for customers at 12pm. Here are some shots of the store.
This store has some amazing corals and fish. This store has some size to it. When you walk in what you will instantly notice that there is a method to the madness. Well there is no madness. Each row of rimless tanks consist of corals or fish. To take things further they've even divided their fish into two groups. Tank bred and wild caught. I was really impressed by the selection they had available in their captive bred section. I especially love big fish stores that are not only filled with live stock but are organized fillMore Gem Tangs than I've ever seen available at a store and the rare Dr. Suess Fish. At the time of our visit they were in the process of building a new 250 gallon system to display even more corals. A few of my fellow aquarium addictions from FB were even nice enough to stop by the store to say hello to me.
At the end of our visit the owner Eddie and I found that we have another common interest besides aquariums, Drones/QuadCopters.
If you are ever in the Jacksonville, FL area I would highly recommend stopping by Bio Reef (3653 Regent Blvd #101, Jacksonville, FL 32224).