BILLINGS — Treasure State Aquariums on Grand Avenue is closed again after reopening three weeks ago after an allegedly impaired driver smashed through the building's west wall around 2 a.m. Friday, knocking down 11 20-gallon fish tanks and spilling water through half of the store.
"This has been a rough year," says Lauren Cardeneaux, who owns and operates Treasure State Aquariums along with her husband, Crowell Cardeneaux.
The Cardeneauxs had just reopened the shop three weeks prior after life threw some major hurdles in their path.
"End of January we found out our baby, little Callahan, wasn't doing so well," Lauren Cardeneaux said. "I was still pregnant at the time and we had to go to Denver and had to be there for several months for him for his medical care."
Upon returning home, the Cardeneauxs focused their time on Callahan, now 10 months old, who is doing much better but had another surgery two days before the crash.
The Cardeneauxs reopened their store in late October, and they are working with insurance agents and contractors to figure out how to repair the damaged west wall and water damage throughout the store to reopen once again.
"Initially we thought a lot of fish had survived. When we got here, there were a lot of fish were on the floor, we got them into tanks, but it wasn't the case when we got here later in the day," Lauren Cardeneaux said. "So it was a pretty devastating loss for animal life that night."
The couple opened Treasure State Aquariums in 2017, selling freshwater fish, tanks, and all of the things you need to build a beautiful aquarium.
In November 2021, the shop was burglarized, and the cash register was stolen.
The Cardeneauxs closed during that time as well until they could recuperate the money and buy a new register.
Looking ahead, the Cardeneauxs are focused on repairing and reopening their shop on Grand, hoping this is the last setback for a business after a year of bad luck.
"I don't want to say I've gotten used to it, but we know we're going to get through it," Crowell Cardeneaux said.
"If we've gotten through the worst with him, the business is just a small thing, we're going to survive and get back into business as soon as we can."