For brothers Leon and Leonardo Trinh, their passion for all things aquatic may only be rivaled by their family’s penchant for entrepreneurship.
Now they have combined the two, creating a business called Trinh Fish & Corals that they plan to open next month even as they continue to work on undergraduate degrees at Western Kentucky University and eventual careers in medicine.
“We’re definitely passionate about this,” said Leon Trinh, who will be a junior at WKU this fall. “Growing up, we used to go to the beach every summer. We’d catch crabs and stuff. We started an aquarium and started doing research on how to properly take care of it.”
Leon Trinh said the brothers had the idea for a couple of years of starting a fish business that concentrated on saltwater creatures. His brother said the coronavirus pandemic played a role in the decision to open the store in the same 1530 Campbell Lane building where their father, Trung Trinh, has his Trinh Pharmacy business.
“We were literally sitting in the Chick fil-A drive-through line when the store became a reality,” Leonardo Trinh recalled. “We decided to do it since the pandemic was giving us more free time.”
They found the perfect spot for the venture on the Campbell Lane site where their grandfather Hung Trinh operated an automobile repair business for years and their father now runs a pharmacy.
“We’ll be running it out of the front of the pharmacy,” Leon Trinh said. “We’ll have 30 or so fish tanks, and we’re planning for a 1,000-gallon pond.”
Leon Trinh said the majority of the tanks will be saltwater, something he said will set Trinh Fish & Corals apart from other outlets that sell fish locally.
“We’ll sell both freshwater and saltwater fish,” he said. “But we’ll mainly be devoted to saltwater. That requires a bit more knowledge and research.”
Leonardo Trinh said he and his brother have visited stores in other parts of the country, learning how to turn their hobby into a business and learning what types of freshwater and saltwater fish to carry.
“Not many fish stores will sell the variety of saltwater fish that we’ll carry,” he said.
The choices will range from tang fish and triggerfish to seahorses, octopus, sharks and stingrays.
The Trinh brothers, both of whom were valedictorians of their graduating classes at Greenwood High School, plan to run the family-owned and family-staffed business even as they work toward their goal of going to medical school and becoming doctors.
“I’m winding down my (undergraduate) college career,” said Leonardo Trinh, 21. “I feel like I can balance my studies and the fish store. We’ll have a family atmosphere.”
Leon Trinh, 20, expects his mother and his grandfather to help out at Trinh Fish & Corals.
“We’ll see where it goes,” he said. “As of now, it will be just a family business. If we need help later on, we’ll hire some people.”
The younger Trinh brother, who has visited fish stores in such major cities as Nashville, Chicago and Atlanta as part of his research, does have a vision for the type of store he wants to run.
“I want to base it on the type of fish store I’d like to go to,” he said.
– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdaily news.com.