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Re: Size of market

Bruno asked:
"Hey James (I figure you're reading in here somewhere) - you mentioned you
at least one person responsible for the plants at one LFS.  Any idea what
take is on volume?"

I know a few..... one works for a major chain, another couple work in small,
independent outlets. None of them frequent the Internet. But the chap who
works for the major chain (the members of the Toronto Plant Group will know
who I'm talking about) has probably forgotten more about aquatic plants than
I will ever know. He has customers lining up when plant shipments come in.
He can get plants from a lot of sources (Tropica included) and gives
excellent advice and service. A staff member like this can go a long way to
increasing the aquatic plant sales of any LFS, and making potential
customers feel confident enough to buy and grow aquatic plants. The guys who
work for the smaller independent outfit don't sell Tropica plants but they
can (and have) get a very wide range of good plants from Asian as well as
local sources. They aren't as dependable about always being able to
guarantee the exact species, but that is a problem mainly with their
suppliers not using the correct name as much as anything else. I know that
the market for plants is growing here in Toronto (and if we could pull the
Toronto Plant Group together it could be helped to grow even further) but as
for just how big it currently is, I couldn't say.

Access to specialized equipment for planted tanks is still rather limited
here in the Toronto area, at least as "off the shelf" items - I don't know
of any stores where you could go in and buy, for example, a complete CO2
system. Some stores would special order something like that for you of
course, but it seems that most of us either prefer to put it together
ourselves or get it mail order from the U.S. For a while, one chain here did
have a Dupla distrubutorship for Canada, and they had an awesome plant
display but the company went bankrupt years ago (the failure had nothing to
do with them carrying Dupla). Places like Big Al's Aquarium Services and
PJ's Pets (at least the bigger stores) have good selections of both plants
and fertilizers. But the smaller store I frequent (Menagerie Pet's on
Parliament Street) can and will special order plants, supplies and equipment
for their customers and they have some very good staff in the fish
department. the carry Seachem products and some AZOO products (AZOO's North
American office is located here).

Finding and frequenting good local stores is an excellent way of helping the
hobby grow - if they are making money they will stick around and every
person who walks thru their door is a potential "convert". So is having (and
promoting) a local Plant Group, either independently or as part of an
established aquarium club. Volunteering to help local schools and hospitals
set up tanks is another way that hobbyists can help the market in their area

James Purchase