Kurt Harrington

Hooked


Twenty years ago Kurt Harrington was a just a kid who really, really liked fish. He had a paper route and lemonade stands — he even launched a business renting VHS tapes — but around age fourteen, he tackled a new venture cleaning fish tanks. “When I started, if I did what everyone is supposed to do in business and did market research, the business probably wouldn’t have gotten off the ground. A market study would have said, ‘Don’t do that,’ ” he says. Luckily, he was a teenager and didn’t know any better, so he went for it. By the time he was a senior in high school the business was doing $50,000 a year; today, Something Fishy is the largest company of its kind in the region. It manages about 120 tanks and does roughly 400 service calls a week between Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. In addition to private residences, his clients include Google’s Boston headquarters and Mystic Aquarium. With a passion that’s virtually palpable, he’ll tell you that when fish tanks are placed in nursing home dining areas, patients tend to eat more, thereby requiring fewer dietary supplements. He’ll tell you that when they’re placed in creative offices, employee energy levels increase. He’ll also tell you that he hopes to expand Something Fishy into other major metropolitan markets in the next few years. Their tanks are immaculate, and their business model is solid. “Our aquatic exhibits move people,” says Harrington. “I’m not really an art guy, but to me, this is art.”
 

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