Tropical fish bringing jobs to East Texans

JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - By Morgan Chesky - bio | email | Twitter
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email | Twitter

JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - Jacksonville is known for tomatoes, but one business could have tropical fish soon being the stars of the town. An Arlington-based pet supplier has decided to move shop to East Texas, bringing new money and new jobs to an ailing economy.

"A lot of them come from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South America, Africa," said Chris Fails, owner of Fish Central Importers.

More than 200 species of fish are in twice as many tanks and the warehouse at Fish Central is not even full.

"Whenever I walk through the warehouse and see the new fish that come in it's like Christmas morning," said Fails.

A lot of money can be made for Jacksonville whose untapped work force and available buildings convinced Flint native Chris Fails to move shop.

"It's always a victory for the city when you add another company," said Darrell Prcin, with the Jacksonville Economic Development. "We certainly hope Fish Central will expand and grow with Jacksonville also."

Pipes pump 50,000 gallons of water to the tanks with miles of PVC left to build for years to come.

"The type of employees and the people and the place, you couldn't ask for a better place for business," said Fails.

David Little is now back in business after being laid off a year ago. Previously a construction worker, Little now keeps a water balance in check.

"It's something new to me," he said. "It's something I've never done before and it's a great experience and I like it."

He felt out of luck until Fish Central gave him his shot.

"They called me so we called out 4 o'clock that morning and got back around 8 or 9 that night it was ok, I was working," he said.

New orders now keep everyone busy.

"We get everything in on Monday and then Tuesday we're bagging fish to send out to customers," said Fails.

"For a whole year, I swear, sometimes I almost gave up but I prayed about it and I just kept my faith and it happened it worked out for the really did," said Little.

Fish Central currently has ten employees, but tells KLTV if their first year in Jacksonville is successful up to 40 new jobs could be created.

Copyright 2010 KLTV. All rights reserved.