Danny and Graham Gallimore are the father-son duo who started, and now run The Koi Market ltd. They started working together earlier this year and have already established a foot-hold in this business with their charm, friendliness and by going above and beyond for their customers.
While Danny has worked in the financial markets for 18 years, Graham has a background in the building trade and started his own business in the 80s. Despite their backgrounds, they both men have had a life-long passion for Koi. It was this passion that resulted in the pair opening The Koi Market.
We (koitalk.com) sat down with the duo and asked them a few questions about following their passion and how it feels to work within a family business.
What do you love about Koi?
Danny: They are elegant to look at and I never tire of watching them evolve and change over time. My personal favourites are Showa as I think they always stand out with their big bold colours in any pond. There are also numerous varieties of them like doitsu, kindai, tancho, gin rin etc
Graham: l love the grace and beauty of the Koi, and that no two Koi are exactly the same. My favourite Koi are the GoSanke variety, at the moment its Showa but l do have a soft spot for Sanke. we have a Tsubo Sanke at the moment and every-time l see it l like it more.
What made you want to become a Koi dealer?
Danny: Things changed for me last year as the city wasn't as busy as it once was and I wanted to turn my passion for Koi keeping into a business.
Graham: Danny and l talked about it for a few years but with work and other commitments it wasn't possible. But we thought we saw a gap in the market where we could supply good fish for reasonable prices.
How big was your first pond? What type of pond do you have now for your personal use?
Danny: My first pond was really very small that my dad built for me, it was really no more than a hole in the ground with a bit of liner with gold fish and comets in. Our pond now is totally different in all aspects with it being much bigger, deeper and the filter systems are fantastic. The Koi we keep all seem really happy so we must be doing something right.
Graham: The first pond l built for Danny was just a small pond for his goldfish, approx.1m x 1m. The pond we have now is 6m x 3m x 2m approx. 8,000 gallons.
How does it feel to work together as a family and business unit? Are there any tips you would pass on to people who want to work with their family?
Danny: Yeah its ok (laughs), no seriously I couldn't do it without my dad and he couldn't do it without me, so in that aspect we contribute each other very well. I am more outgoing and quite impulsive with my decisions where my dad is more methodical and thinks about things in the longer term. He has to reign me in quite a lot (laughs).
Graham: Its always good to work with people you know, you know their strengths and weaknesses As long as people have distinctive roles in the business it runs pretty smooth.
What exciting products do you have at the moment in you shop?
Danny: We have just taken delivery of some outstanding tosai from breeders Koda and Marushin, which are really good quality and are at a decent price point for people too. We have also just got our account with evolution aqua up and running so we are excited about selling there products and working with them.
What sets the Koi market apart from other Koi dealers?
Danny: I think what sets us apart from everyone else is that we take on board a lot of what our customers tell us and try to work with them in solving problems, instead of telling them what it might be and leaving it to there own devices. A few of our customers have had problems with their ponds this summer and my dad has always been on the other end of the phone with them and even, in some cases, going out to them to try and resole any problems they may have. We are both very approachable as well, which makes it a lot easier for people to speak with as it puts them at ease.
Where do you see The Koi Market in 5 years time?
Danny: I am spending all my time trying to find the Koi market new premises, but with a Koi dealership its not like you can buy a shop in a high street and you open up the next month and away you go, its so difficult trying to find one place that ticks all the boxes, so in the next 5 years our plan is to get our new premises, grow year on year picking up more customers and stocking more products.
Graham: And hopefully going from strength to strength.
Which Koi would you recommend for first time Koi buyers?
Danny: For me, the first time buyers should start at the lower end of the scale. If anything then happens to your Koi, it doesn't hurt as much as something happening to more expensive Koi. You know yourself as a Koi hobbyist, your boundaries, and once you feel you're 100% confident with what your doing then move on to bigger and better things.
Graham: l always advise to start off slowly, get the water correct before you buy too many fish and then gradually increase. Lots of first timers are too impatient and eventually pay the cost.
How do you influence each other when it comes to business and Koi keeping?
Danny: As i said in one of the earlier answers I am quite an impulsive person and if I want something I go for it until I get it, sometimes that is not the best way to be in business as the saying goes “today's news is tomorrow’s fish paper”, so my dad keeps everything in perspective and his opinions are very valuable to me in Koi-keeping and in life. Experience comes with age and he has plenty of that (laughs).
Graham: We basically have our opinions, sometimes they are the same, sometimes not, but we get there in the end. l let Danny have a free reign over some things he lets me have the final say on others.
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