First salt water specialty shop in U.P. now open

MARQUETTE — UP Reef has only been in business for a week, but they’re already making a splash.

“We are the only salt water specialty store in all of the U.P. There’s a lot of people driving from the Soo, from the Keweenaw coming down, east and west.” said owner Jeff Larson.

UP Reef started as an interest for Larson 22 years ago, but that soon turned into a hobby and then a side business. This eventually led Larson and his wife, Candice, to open the only salt water design, supply, and maintenance retail shop in the Upper Peninsula.

“It kind of blossomed. I’m literally kind of ‘fish-brained,’ if you will, where I just can’t not think about it. It’s consumed me, and I just want to be able to show people what you can accomplish,” said Larson.

UP Reef offers many services, from educating those simply interested in salt water tanks to tank customization for homes and businesses, all while being environmentally-conscious.

“A lot of the fish and corals, I really strive to bring in captive-bred fish and corals, so nothing’s coming out of the ocean. We’re actually giving back more than we’re taking away because the money actually ends up going back into the ocean, which is pretty sweet,” said Larson.

Larson also said owning a salt water tank has personal benefits as well, especially to those with post-traumatic stress disorder or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

“There’s studies out there for all of these different things that has actually allowed people to calm themselves, bring themselves back to ground by building these reef tanks, and really, underwater gardening. It’s very zen.”

UP Reef is located on Washington Street in Marquette above Wattson and Wattson Jewelers. You can find them on Facebook, Instagram or email them at upreef@gmail.com for more information or inquiries.