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After a recent stint working in an LFS, I have to say, look first for a good
manager, one that actually is interested in plants or whatever you are
looking for. The manager at the store I was working at gave lip service to
wanting to supply plants, but in actuality gave 101 excuses why he couldn't
do it.

Anyway, beyond management that is willing to support and do what is
necessary to provide the kinds of plants etc. you want to buy, this is what
I look for;

1) good selection of decent looking plants, with the occasional rarity
2) good turn over of merchandize, or at least good grooming and maintenance
of the plants that don't sell so fast
3) SAE's and Algae eating shrimp in stock most of the time, and staff that
recognizes them when they see them (even if they call them by different
4) show Tanks that are kept off limits to sales, and maintained over time
with reasonable proficiency (both aesthetically and culturally)
5) staff that can tell you how to set up a CO2 system for plants, and give a
reasonable explantion for the lighting needed to keep the plants alive
6) a stable staff, not a shop that has reviolving doors for its employees
7) management that is truly interested in plants and planted tanks, not just
looking to tap into a niche market
8) a shop open to trading plants from customers (this is often a loosing
proposition for the shop, but does give the opportunity of them getting in
some rare and unusual plants, and plants that tend to do better under the
specific water quality of the area you are in.)

Brett Johnson
Green Man Gardens
bnbjohns at attbi_com