Athens native and University of Georgia alumni Tebias “Troy” Brookins has been interested in fish since his first job at a pet store.
In December 2015, Brookins took his interest in fish to the next level and opened his own one-stop shop for all aquarium needs, Fin-Alley, in Baxter Center on Baxter Street in Athens, Georgia. “It was hard getting opened but that’s what I wanted to do,” Brookins said.
Unlike big brand stores, the local shop aims to be different by marketing fish to novices and experts alike.
Fin-Alley brings in an estimated 400 fish a week. The fish come from across the country, including saltwater fish from California and freshwater fish from Atlanta, Georgia and Florida.
Although Fin-Alley, an essential store, has stayed open during the COVID-19 pandemic, many aquarium manufacturers and suppliers closed. This caused Fin-Alley’s stock of fish, coral and handmade tanks to drop. As suppliers have begun operating again, Brookins hopes to be back in full stock soon.
Brookins offered advice to other small businesses during this time.
“Do what you got to do,” Brookins said. “We all have a story. Keep going.”