Iowa’s West Coast Initiative Feature: GroFin Aquatics

BUSINESS NAME: GroFin Aquatics
MAIN PRODUCTS/SERVICES: Aquarium supply/ service
LOCATION: 623 Water St.

Short description of your business: 

We are a family-owned and operated aquarium supply /service provider, specializing in live planted aquariums. We offer commercial, custom installs and service as well.  Our attention to detail is what sets us apart from other aquarium supply and service stores. 

What motivated you to start your business? What drives you each day? 

This was a hobby that spiraled out of control during COVID when my other business was shut down. Aquascaping is a passion and an art form that has become a method of artistic expression for me. Sharing that with others and seeing them blossom with their expressions is the motivation.

What’s unique about your business?

Our attention to detail. We strive to provide only healthy fish and shrimp, and only the best aquarium plants available. This is something we are passionate about. Our quarantine and medication process meets and exceeds anything we have seen elsewhere. Every creature that leaves our store goes through a multistage process involving medications and specialized feeding, as well as significant quarantine and observation. My primary line of work is as a Tattoo Artist. I’ve found that putting the same level of care in cross-contamination prevention/cleanliness into the aquatic process produces a quality of healthy stock that you cannot get any other way.

We also believe that an aquarium is an ecosystem, and live plants are a must. The benefits of a live, natural planted ecosystem in your aquarium are incredible, meaning more enjoyment, and less stress for the average hobbyist. 

We also offer custom installations and services for businesses. If your business has a lobby, I would love to enhance it with an aquascape statement piece. 

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as you’ve grown your business?

The biggest challenges have been getting the word out there that we exist, and that we offer game-changing methods.

What has been your greatest reward? 

The adventure of building a business like this with my family has been rewarding and seeing the hobby start to blossom in this area, with people seeing success where before they didn’t. 

How have you benefited from the startup community in Sioux City and the region?

Downtown Partners, as well as the different news outlets we have been involved with, have been a great help. IWCI has been a huge support as well. 

Why is it important for the community to support startups and small businesses? 

I think this community in particular does a lot to support small businesses already. There is a culture here in Siouxland behind that, and I love it.

What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew when starting your business? 

Location is key. We had to move the business after only a year and luckily we did. Location matters.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business?

Don’t be too protective of your days off. 

How can the community continue to help your business?

Spread the word, and if you have a fish tank, stop at our store. 

What are some future goals for your company?

We would love to expand further into the commercial installation side of this business. Large custom installations are where our passion truly lies.

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