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That One Guy
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I don't know if any of these places are around anymore but I sure hope so. The hobby shop run by a tropical fish fanatic. His fish room got too big or maybe he just got ambitious or too excited. Many years ago , well over 40 years , my Dad and I were running around and he said "we have to go in this bar and have a drink". Off we went and in we went because he wanted to show me an aquarium they had on the back bar. It was fairly big but there were Discus in it. This was back when they were rare and nobody in my little one dog town had them. So , we're sitting at the bar admiring this tank and remarking about it and an older guy about my Dads age , sitting at the bar next to us , pipes up and says " I set that up for them and take care of it". He then goes on to tell us everything about it and then invites us up to his shop to see more. Anyway , we drove over and Fred lived in an older house on a steep hill and the entrance to his shop was reached through the back alley. His shop was in the basement next to his garage. He had to go up a set of long stairs to get up to his house so the shop was really secluded like a cave. I remember the air inside being damp and humid but the smell was wonderful. There were dozens of aquariums shoe horned in everywhere and then . . . there it was ! The huge tank with the huge Discus in it. So cool. I went and told my friend and mentor , who had heard about it but never seen it , and we were frequent visitors. Fred didn't have a cash register and the prices weren't marked . You got out your wallet and he got his out and the deal took place. Fred passed away years ago and you never see places like his anymore. I sure would like to go in there one more time. Then there was Tom's Tropicals and one other but that's another memory.
 

GaryE

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There was a legendary tavern in southwest Montreal, long before my time.
The owner had made a wall of tanks, and any patron who checked first could bring fish in to fill them. It was mainly Bettas and livebearers, with a very few tetras (they were expensive back then). Tanks tended to be small before silicone was around, and there were a lot of single Bettas, some bred by my grandfather. It was just up the road from the factory where my aquarist grandfather worked, by the streetcar stop. He was one of the patrons who took care of the fish, and he loved it.
Up the hill there was a wealthy aquarist group, with a large greenhouse overlooking the (literal) other side of the tracks. My grandfather said the tavern was the working class greenhouse. He and his friends would have a few beers and discuss the fish. He said it was a serious bunch of aquarium keepers, well read and experienced. There were a few European WW 2 refugees who brought in another angle on the hobby. The place was there with fish for about 15 years, before it got knocked down in a slum clearance project in the 1960s.
I wish I'd seen that, though I wouldn't appreciate being the age I'd need to be to have been an eyewitness.
 
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That One Guy
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That's awesome @GaryE . These places are something the youngsters today really should see but , sadly , will not. The old places I knew were all word of mouth and sometimes took some real searching out. There just has to be one of these old school guys still running his little one man operation somewhere . I sure hope so.
 

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One of those things where you make enough money to avoid going into debt, and that's good enough. Wish I had the time and space.
We had a joke back when I was teaching scuba and trying to keep the scuba shop afloat. It is appropriate to the tropical fish hobby and went like this: "How do you make a million dollars in one year owning a scuba shop?" Start with two million!" The answer to our future is aquarium clubs and hobbyists willing to extend beyond our fish rooms. Some of us 'old guys' are so blessed to have had treasure experiences so vividly relayed by Back in the fold and GaryE. I sure miss those days. Taking the kids to the old guy's garage on the other side of the lake to see his unusual fishes. His tanks were impeccable, sponge filtered, planted and understocked. It was a life lesson for the kids. Those young eyes, fascinated with unimaginable tropical fish beauty made the long trip worth it.
 
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That One Guy
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@Archerfish You are absolutely right. The older or more experienced among us have to come out of our fish rooms and join clubs. The clubs and aquarium societies are a hollow shell of their former selves and that spells doom for our beloved hobby. Please people , find a club and get active. You won't regret it .
 

Slaphppy7

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OT, but when I think "hobby shop", I think of those that sold the RC model aircraft that enamored me as a kid.

I was lucky enough to have TWO within bicycle distance of my home...as long as I was home before dark

Now, back to your regular scheduled thread...
 
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That One Guy
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OT, but when I think "hobby shop", I think of those that sold the RC model aircraft that enamored me as a kid.

I was lucky enough to have TWO within bicycle distance of my home...as long as I was home before dark

Now, back to your regular scheduled thread...
We still have two of those here and one has been around since the '70's. Both are within bicycle distance of my present hovel.

Now, back to our regular scheduled thread . . .
 

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