Exotic fish store

Exotic fish store

If you were looking for a place to set up an exotic fish store, Kannapolis, NC might not be the first town that came to mind. But the Greendale Tropical Fish store has been selling Gouramis, Oscars, Cichilds there for over 70 years.

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This aquatic oasis sits on a little country road, removed from any other retail store by miles of farmland. Greendale opened during the depression in 1929 when Rufus Green, the father of current owner George Green, turned his hobby of raising fish into a profession after being laid off by Cannon Mills.

Rufus built his business supplying fish to dime stores, like Woolworth's, across the southeast. In 1939, he moved to the current location and built a hatchery on what has since been appropriately named Goldfish Road.

The idea of an exotic fish store out in the middle of nowhere may not seem like a lucrative business venture but, George says, "Business has been stable - it's constant. We have a good trade here year-around. It's not what you would call a booming trade. It is a recession-proof business."

Here you will have fun fish to the right, fish to the left, calico cats, and there are calico fish, an unusual looking Tang Fish glides by, graceful anemone wave with the currents, luminescent Gouramis are, paradoxically, silver goldfish, sea Flowers come in a rainbow of colors..

Most customers come from all the surrounding areas Kannapolis, Concord, Salisbury, Albemarle and Charlotte, but some come from as far away as Virginia or Washington D.C. to look and to purchase fish and supplies for their personal collections. What keeps them coming back-and spreading the word-is the depth of knowledge of "fishness" that the owners and staff have gained from decades in the business.

Gaysorn, or Gay as all the regulars call her, a classical dancer from Bangkok, can give "fishness" advice to novices and experts alike. She quickly points out, for instance, that you don't want to take on too much until you've first gotten your feet wet, so to speak. Saltwater fish, while Tang Fish glides at  Greendale Tropical Fish store, Kannapolis, NC beautiful and colorful, are much more difficult and require very specific care. It is better to start off with low maintenance fish and move up to the saltwater, Gay advises.

But even if you aren't up to becoming the proud owner of a purple tang, or interested in investing in tropical coral, a walk through Greendale is both enjoyable and educational. Schools bring kids on a regular basis, and moms and dads can be seen walking down the aisles of aquariums pointing at the color and designs on fish you'd never expect to find on a southern country road, 200 miles from the nearest ocean.

Greendale Tropical Fish is located at 6465 Goldfish Road in Kannapolis. From Concord, take Interstate 85 north to Lane Street, exit 63. Turn right and proceed until the road ends at Old Salisbury-Concord Road. Turn left. Go about one-quarter mile and turn left onto Goldfish Road. The store is about two miles on the right . Look for the green building. The store is open 10 til 6 Wednesday through Saturday and 2 until 6 on Sunday. For more information, call 704-933-1798.

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