Every good thing has a great story behind it, here’s ours.
It all started with a guy named Jim...
To start at the real beginning, I have to reach back... way, way back into the absolute hazy depths of my memory: to when I was give or take 13. The music was grungy, the people were too but water beds and aquariums were all the rage. And I wanted one.
I started with what I could. I was 13, money was tight, so I was limited to freshwater. Only a few years later though I met Jim. Jim was my neighbour who lived just down the road. He loved saltwater fish and may as well have been a rockstar to me, because Jim knew and owned many aquariums.
It’s funny how you never know at the time when those key, life-shifting moments are happening. But as it turned out this was one of them.
I’m not sure the word “Reefer” existed back then, or meant what it does now but if it did: Jim was one. So naturally, I shared my dream of owning a saltwater tank with him. And he became my reefing angel when he gave me everything, I needed to start my first saltwater only tank. It was a big day.
And so began a hobby I could never shake.
From Reefer to Shop Owner
It didn’t take long after that for my obsession with coral to begin. I drove all around the province trying to find the best deals, visiting local shops and basements, getting to know everything I could get my hands on.
I started Little Shop of Corals rather unofficially for some time. It was almost an accident if I’m being honest. I found so many good deals and pieces that I wanted to share with other reefers who didn’t have the freedom, flexibility, or time to drive around the province. So, I started selling the coral I found and got another tank for my increasing supply. And then, another…And another. You know how this goes. Much to my wife’s annoyance it eventually took up our entire basement.
Even though in the beginning Little Shop lacked some of the more formal business components, it still had all the growing pains, tantrums, and crashes that I now know come with most start-ups… But even at its worst I could never shake my passion for this hobby. I knew I found my people: the reefing community. And I wanted Little Shop of Coral to serve it to the best of my ability and to reflect the best parts of it.
When it comes down to it: Our community makes this hobby what it is.
At this point in my life a lot of my close friends are fellow reefers I’ve met because of coral and reefing overall. They’ve been there to give advice, share new information, offer a shoulder when one of my tanks crashed or give their own tried and true techniques to troubleshooting any issues. They’re some of the most innovative and unique people from so many different walks of life who all share this same love for the same thing.
That’s the feeling I wanted Little Shop of Coral to offer everyone even as an online store. I wanted it to be a place for all reefers no matter their differences or what skill level they had, even if they were just thinking about getting into the hobby.
It’s always been my mindset that the coral we have at Little Shop is unique, colourful, and beautiful. It’s after all what kept me in the hobby. And just like I’ve said before: Our coral sells itself.
But it’s the people, the reefers themselves I wanted to focus on. I wanted to open a store that provided connection back to that community, that encouraged and supported fellow reefers, that offered advice regardless of sales. But that was just a dream at that point.
Along comes Brian…
It likely comes as no surprise that it was through this community that I met a new reefer who visited my informal, basement shop to look for some coral for his relatively new tank.
Once again, I was totally unaware at the time of how important this new reefer would become.
Just like other hobbyist I’ve met, Brian and I instantly bonded over our love of coral. We were different in every way, from our experiences in life to reefing: For me it ran decades deep and for him was brand new.
Brian was a reefer with a thirst for adventure, he didn’t do anything in a standard and typical way. He threw himself into everything. Even in the beginning that part was clear. He was a certified scuba diver who loved travel and had come to love coral reefs enough to want to own his own aquarium. He also knew business and had his own passion for growing companies.
It was this friendship that eventually led to formalizing Little Shop of Corals into a partnership where we’d give it more of an online presence.
Which leads us to where we are now:
Today, I get to wake up every day and do something I love. I’m an experienced reefer, an avid member of this community and now I get to turn my passion project into a full-time job and work alongside one of my closest friends.
If you ever need anything, have any questions, feedback, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly.
Understand we treat every member of this community with respect and make the time for each. Because? Well, we couldn’t be here without you. And you never know when a fellow reefer is going to absolutely change your life.