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Wyatt Hunt and David Little work to unload aquarium equipment at Fish Central. The business will hire for roles ranging from delivery drivers and management to biologists. The company has already started hiring. A wealth of fish equipment now sits in the Fish Central buildings awaiting facility completion. Aquaculture, the farming of fresh and saltwater organisms, will be conducted at the new and expanding business.

Formerly an Arlington-based pet fish supplier, Fish Central Importers LLC. has moved its operation into the old Galaxy Boatworks building in south Jacksonville. Fish Central Co-owner Lacey Perry said the business was brought to Jacksonville to bring it closer to home and to the East Texas area.

“Jacksonville is a good town to do this in,” Perry said.

She added the facility’s location in Jacksonville will allow area schools to frequent the spot on field trips. In addition, a great deal of fuel will be purchased in Jacksonville because delivery trucks will constantly set out from and arrive at the location.

“We’ve worked very closely with the Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation in regards to bringing this here,” Perry also said. “Everyone has been open to us and welcoming.”

Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation President Darrel Prcin said aside from the 20-40 people Fish Central will likely hire over the upcoming months, other benefits will be given to the city at large.

“They’ll be occupying the old Galaxy Boatworks building, which was shut down a few years ago,” Prcin said. “At some point when they’re up and running they’ll also be offering tours.”

Prcin said because it’s taking over an old building visible along U.S. Highway 69, a good sign is important for both Fish Central and Jacksonville.

A private owner of Fish Central who wished to remain anonymous said as an import and export company of fish all around the world, Fish Central will bring in fish and disperse them to local pet stores from Jacksonville to outlying states such as New Mexico and Kansas

He said one reason Jacksonville was chosen was because it provides ease of distribution.

“We can leave here and go anywhere we want,” he said. “It’s probably one of the easiest places to get out of; you’ve got U.S. Highway 175 and Interstate 20.”

This week employees will work to bring the four-building, 56,000 square foot facility fully online.

The private owner said this includes an amount of piping measured not in yards, but in miles. He said he couldn’t begin to guess the total distance of the water pipes purchased from Heath and Heath Hardware in Jacksonville.

As a wholesale distributor of nearly any type of fish known to man, he said Fish Central receives its fish from places like Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. It will also host about 16 tons of live rock for coral farms, rather than collecting coral from the ocean.

The private owner said the facility could be ready for business by June 28, with fish beginning to arrive by Tuesday or Wednesday to call Jacksonville’s water home.

“I’m surprised at how good Jacksonville’s water is,” he added. “We were pleasantly surprised at the welcome we got from Jacksonville and its people.”

Fish Central, which will sell pet fish to businesses such as Walmart and pet stores, was the focus of a recent JEDCO meeting in May. The JEDCO board agreed to give Fish Central $25,000 for relocation and cleanup from its Arlington location and $3,500 for each employee up to 40 employees for positions filled and maintained during the first two years.

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