It’s no secret that the local fish store has struggled in this digital age. However, the Corner Reef in St. Louis is adapting and EXPANDING their footprint. Steve Babcock has owned and operated The Corner Reef for about 12 years and knows a thing or two about adapting. In 2018, the original store location burned to the ground in a fire. Thankfully, Steve and his crew were able to get the livestock out of that building and into a new building that has now become home.
I lovingly refer to Corner Reef as the “antique shop” of local fish stores. Not because everything is vintage or old, but because you truly never know what you’re going to find. Steve buys a decent amount of tank breakdowns in the St. Louis area, so there is always a new gem to be discovered.
When you enter the store, you’re greeted by a massive display tank containing the store’s mascot – a Bluespine Unicornfish (Naso unicornus), more commonly known as a Unicorn Tang in the hobby. Steve describes him as a “curmudgeon”, and I couldn’t agree more. However, there is something endearing about his curious personality. Another star of the show is an Interruptus Angelfish (Centropyge interruptus). If you’re fancy, or you’ve just won the lottery, you could afford the $3,500 price tag. The orange and deep pink coloration will take your breath away.
The Corner Reef is located in a strip mall of vacated storefronts, a familiar scene nowadays. Steve told me he’s gone back and forth on whether or not to expand into the adjacent space, but after months of contemplation, he decided to pull the trigger. Selfishly, I love that one of my local fish stores is expanding. I cannot wait to see what he has in store!
Go on a short tour of The Corner Reef in our latest video below! We’ll be sure to update you on Steve’s progress over the coming months!