WALKERTON – It took Brian Austin, owner of Fish Tails & Story Trails in Walkerton, a bit of effort to come up with a good name for his business.
It helps that the owner of the book and aquarium store is a published author. The name is both quirky and descriptive of what customers will find inside.
Books and aquariums are life-long passions of Austin. He said he can’t remember a time when he couldn’t read. The focus in the book side of his business is on the classics.
“I prefer books that have stood the test of time,” he said.
This is true for both the children’s books in his store and the adult selections. He has had the experience of picking up a new best seller and discovering it’s not that good, while the classics have the power to capture the reader’s interest and hold it until the final page.
The book section opened in November 2019. It’s not quite complete, though. Austin would like to turn a small room at the back into a book exchange area for families that home-school. These people buy a huge number of books, said Austin, and if he can save them a bit of effort and money, he will.
The aquarium side didn’t open until the spring of 2020.
“It takes longer to set up an aquarium than books,” Austin said. It’s become the perfect place for those interested in starting an aquarium, or expanding their knowledge of the hobby.
Austin does much more than sell fish and aquariums – he provides a wealth of experience that comes from 55 years as a hobbyist.
“I set up my first aquarium when I was 13,” he said, and hasn’t gone for more than three months without at least one tank of fish since then.
He said that he’s far more interested in keeping customers coming back than he is in making a quick sale – people may discover he’ll recommend cheaper alternatives to some items.
“I’ve been on the other side of the counter,” he said.
And if he doesn’t know the answer to a question, he’ll happily research it.
Fish Tails & Story Trails is located in downtown Walkerton at 419 Durham St. E. and is open daily except Sundays until 5:30 p.m. (call before you visit on Mondays), 519-507-7026.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times