Don't Let The Black Pearl Sink!

Our story starts in a small, windy, desert town called Mojave. On January 1st of last year, me and my aging 76 year old mother decided to embark on a difficult and life-changing journey together.

It was our last chance. A chance taken not only to follow our dreams together but to find peace in the nearest future during our last years together and even to help others find tranquility, stress relief and some peace and joy in their lives too.

So we started "Black Pearl Aquarium". I drummed up every penny I had saved over the last few years woodworking, plumbing, selling my artwork at local events and doing anything I could. My mother took out a mortgage, invested her life savings and used every dollar she had last available on her two credit cards to help start our risky "Last Shot" adventure.

It was our last shot at freedom. Something we all wish for, want, need or dream about.

We did not have the extra funds to hire any help or employees so it was just me and my mom alone to brave unknown territory and a foggy path. We only had each other.

My ex-girlfriend left me with debt and my dad and mother's soulmate of 46 years, had passed away recently. Both still heartbroken and downtrodden, we edged on to start new lives on our own. Unfortunately, just a few months into our new beginning, my mother suffered a fall while helping me carry a small aquarium and badly injured her back and hip. I was helpless to reach her before she fell. Soon after, our luck drew even darker as my mother had a stroke due to financial stress and burdens with our new store. Now she even struggles to walk and can only barely help me in our daily tasks.

If we lose the Black Pearl, we won't just lose a locally beloved business but we will lose a tremendous part of our livelihood. The potential saving grace of our lives. Our last Hope. Without it, true and frankly, we will be sent back to that place where there is only debt, struggle, fear of the future and no longer a way out.

We invested every possible monetary avenue we could possibly find. As I said earlier, it's our "one last shot".

Maybe you can relate. Or maybe you can remember your own struggles and trial-laden past before your raise, your promotion or your own last shot.

My mother is known in the town as a sweet, memorable and lovable figure. Maybe you remember your mom fondly or still can appreciate seeing her now. My foremost goal was to fulfill my mother's dreams. One of them was to be able to go home to her family in Costa Rica at least before she passes so she could see them one last time before it's too late. That is what she still talks about nearly every week. It's been over 15 years.

This new experience has brought us closer together and now I can say she is my closest friend.

So then there's this...
You might already be thinking we are just another retailer or small Aquarium Store, and honestly that is part of what we are. But Black Pearl is so much more to the local community already. We are a sincere and caring son and mom team that many come to see and to share not only their Aquarium interests but even their lives in depth, during so many of our daily conversations with them. That's how we connect with our reoccurring visitors. We care about them and they care about us.

To us, it is a "way of life" and has become our life. Yet without your diligent help, our last hope for a future and a local place so many, in, and around our community have come to love, will soon be a missed memory of the past. We have recently run our ship aground and suffered an unexpected drought in working capital. Our shelves are now looking empty. Our fish are few and too many of our tanks are now bare. If people could see new products abound and tanks full of beautiful, spectacular fish again, they would begin to revisit, buy and revive the Black Pearl and an aging mother's last wishes.

People say, they really don't want us to go anywhere, to go away. They want us to stay and we want to stay. We want to keep fighting our fight to succeed and bring everything everyone wants in this treasured pet keeping way of life to full fruition for the people here in Mojave and the surrounding communities.

We are unique and also the only venue of its kind within nearly 60 miles. We were the ones who brought the REAL LIFE "Gil", the REAL LIFE "Nemo" and the REAL LIFE "Dory" to the area.

So many families and children had never seen these beautiful, legendary creatures in living person and we both worked so hard to make it happen in the middle of the desert! Parents bring their kids just to see them and the children are mesmerized and often in grateful, excitement and even total awe to see them not just in their favorite movie but right before their eyes. This is what gives us such great satisfaction for what we see the smiles on their faces.

A very recently widowed mother of two teenage girls seems to get some form of relief and peace from her terrible and painful loss when enjoying her new fish in a long-time kept, 120 Gallon aquarium.

One man with extreme anxiety seems to be quelled when working with his tank and says "it's often better than medication".

Another retired man who suffers from severe depression, social fears, and PTSD said; "You know what Joe, since having my aquarium and these beautiful fish in my living room, I haven't felt so relaxed. I watch them nearly all day. I feel different. When I watch them, It's like it all melts away and I can forget about all the things that worry me when I get home...and it's all thanks to you".

That's when I realized that what we do here is more than setting up aquariums. It's ANIMAL to HUMAN therapy.

People say they feel joy, satisfaction and a sense of serene accomplishment. It's as though they are experiencing a smaller, rewarding world inside of a much bigger, complicated world. As though it's a mini "getaway" on demand. We love to help people feel these things.

Right now, running the store can be very stressful though. Without help and the funds needed to acquire that help, there is a great deal of maintenance still. About 12 to 16 hours a day for both of us.

So what does that mean for us?
It means we are giving up our selves, our peace for now, and our social lives so that our customers can have a little more of theirs. This is why "It is more than a hobby...for some, it is a way of life".

Help us make a comeback and reignite the flame that so many have come to appreciate.

If you got this far in the read, you are already family. You can be one of our heroes.

PLEASE DON'T let the Black Pearl sink.

We are calling on the generosity of family, friends, neighbors and strangers to help us #SaveTheBlackPearl

1. Donate what you can, no amount too small
2. Share on all social media with the hashtag #SaveTheBlackPearl
3. Email GoFundMe and these steps to all contacts
4. Leverage any avenue you have to make this go viral (or send us leads/tips)


Level 1 HERO!
Every $5 donor will receive:

Level 2 HERO!
Every $10 donor will receive:
•Credit mentioning you with "LEVEL 2 HERO STATUS" on our Facebook

Level 3 HERO!
Every $15 donor will receive:
•Credit mentioning you with "LEVEL 3 HERO STATUS" on our Facebook
•HONORABLE MENTION POST-UP with your name in our store (unless you prefer anonymity), to let every visitor know you are one of our LEVEL 3 HEROES!

PLEASE DON'T DONATE MORE THAN $5, $10 or 15 if you saw this story on the ABC 23 NEWS highlight on Facebook. We want everyone to feel encouraged, not discouraged by high donations. Anyone can donate $5 but not everyone can afford $50 or $100 and we understand that so keep it easy and painless! We want our donations to come from many more supportive donators instead of just a few. It means more to us that way and if most of our readers post just a little, it will add up quickly that way.  
If you still want to support at a higher Heroic level or you know us personally  or are a fan of Black Pearl then we appreciate your extended support.
See "WHERE THE MONEY IS GOING",  near the bottom portion of this page.
Level 4 HERO!
Every $50 donor will receive:
*A unique, COMMEMORATIVE MEDALLION NECKLACE that represents the new TRIUMPH that you helped bring to BLACK PEARL!*
•LEVEL "4 HERO STATUS" on Facebook.
•HONORABLE MENTION POST-UP with your name in our store.

Level 5 HERO!
Every $75 donor will receive:
*A one-of-kind, Black Pearl Aquarium coffee style mug!
•LEVEL 4 HERO STATUS on our Facebook page.
•HONORABLE MENTION POST-UP with your name in our store.

Level 6 HERO!
Every $100 donor will receive:
*An exclusive, custom BLACK PEARL T-SHIRT in Full Color!*
•LEVEL 5 HERO STATUS on Facebook
•HONORABLE MENTION POST-UP with your name in our store.

Level 7 HERO!
$250 -to be updated

Level 8 HERO!
Every $500 Donor will receive full Classified access to our wholesale supplier and warehouse fish prices for six months and personally accompany us on one trip to the actual wholesale fish warehouses where the popular show hosts of "Tanked" visit to get their own fish as seen on TV!!!
•LEVEL 5 HERO STATUS on Facebook
•HONORABLE MENTION POST-UP with your name in our store.

Level 9 HERO!
$1,000 -to be updated

Level 10+ MEGA HERO!
Over $2,000-$10,000
We wish we had a reward that could suffice for this hero so all we have to offer will be our best thank you, ultimate respect and loyalty, and many prayers that you are blessed in any manner you could ever need!

100% of the funds will go to the following:

1. The purchase and restocking of products of all kinds and aquatic life from all over the world! We will expand our selection beyond our previous scope to a much more exciting and impressive degree. We will begin to carry the most incredible and unforeseen array of exotic fish you will find within a 100-200 mile radius!!!
2. If donations reach the potential needed, we will hire new help and staff not only to relieve Virginia of so much of her work but to improve efficiency in maintenance and better serve our customers.
4. Proceeds will also go towards improving the living eco system of the fish in many ways including better equipment, more water changing capacity and improved medical care for all fish for the highest possible health status of the animals bar none.
5. Improved and increased marketing to boost sales so we can not only stay in business but grow quickly and securely. The more we sell, the lower prices will go!
6. To import more of our own animals directly from international exporters from some of the most exotic places around the world so we can pass even more amazing savings on fish than any retail or online store in the history of this hobby, to you, the people! It will be unbelievable when we hit that critical point in the campaign!!! 
7. Donate aquarium sets to families with children who have autism for the proven therapeutic benefits it renders to these children.
8. Provide exciting customer rewards programs and also random giveaway donations of products and even complete tank setups to less fortunate families.
9. Help develop or obtain products that have never been seen before in our local market.
10. Provide our part for events of charities of highly beneficial causes.
11. And...lastly, donate aquarium setups to local schools and classrooms.

We presently have only weeks to meet a part of our goal in order to keep the Black Pearl afloat. 

Thank you all so much, from Joe, Virginia, our loved fans and customers and Black Pearl Aquarium.
  • Riah Milson 
    • $5 
    • 56 mos
  • Margaret Johns 
    • $20 
    • 57 mos
  • Debra Jennings  
    • $15 
    • 57 mos
  • V. W. 
    • $2,800 (Offline)
    • 57 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $185 
    • 57 mos
See all


BlackPearl Joe 
Mojave, CA