South Shore fish store provides respite from chaos of life

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Brandon Holmes has always liked creatures of the sea.

"I got this feeling of love and positivity, hear the sound. You hear that water," he said.

Holmes, with the help of his primary investor and mother Brenda Holmes, opened Aquatic Oasis long the 87th Street business district in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood, in a corner location that used to be a cell phone store.

Holmes wants his new store to be a respite from some of the chaos of life on Chicago's South Side. Open just a few days, already locals are glad to see it there.

"I'm glad to see it," said Reginald Wilbon, South Shore resident. "It's a vital part of our community, no doubt."

"This strip has really been, like, dry to me, but this place really brought a lot of life to me today," said Carla Robinson, South Shore resident.

Holmes is 35, a graduate of Howard University, and a native of Chicago's Beverly neighborhood. He pursued a marketing career before building his dream to bring something different to the neighborhood.

"I also had to go very far to get my supplies," Holmes said. "I had to go to the suburbs or the other side of town in order to get quality fish."

The store not only carries exotic fish, but also specialty supplies.

The youngest of three children, Holmes said his father instilled in him a love of the sea and everything in it. He chose to open in South Shore after buying investment property there 10 years ago because of the lack of pet stores in the area.

His mother, who is his primary investor, helped him launch the nearly $200,000 venture.

"I've gotten to a point where I Just trust and believe," Brenda Holmes said.

The energetic entrepreneur has much more planned as he hopes to transform the neighborhood.

"This is for the community," he said. "I love you."
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