A koi fish seller says business is booming, thanks to his careful attention to detail. He sometimes visits 20 breeders a day to source fish that can sell for thousands.

Koi carp
A large koi being handled by one of Waddington’s colleagues.

Sourcing and selling koi carp – some of the most expensive pet fish in the world – can be both a profitable business and an enjoyable pursuit. This is especially true for Tim Waddington, the owner of Quality Nishikigoi, which is one of the UK’s largest importers of Japanese Koi.

As previously reported by Insider, the most expensive koi fish ever sold was worth $1.8 million.

Originally raised in Japan during the 1700s, koi gradually moved through the rest of the world over the years as people began to take an interest in the vibrant and colourful species.

“My father pioneered bringing Japanese koi to the UK. He opened the first koi-only retail outlet in the ’80s,” said Waddington. Now, with more than 30 years of experience, Waddington has become an expert in the trade and told Insider about how he runs his rapidly expanding business.

Koi carp
Koi have become increasingly popular over the years.

There is consistent demand for koi, according to Waddington. “People are always looking to buy the fish,” he said. To capitalize on that demand, Waddington said he provides customers with the highest quality Japanese koi that he sources himself, which are sometimes valued at thousands of dollars.

Some of the fish Waddington sells are priced up to $2,700. But like anything expensive, people are more likely to buy pricey items as a one-off purchase. This is why selling cheaper koi is generally more profitable in the long run, Waddington said.

A higher price can also mean a greater loss, however, because there’s a lot of things that can go wrong with fish, Waddington said. “You’ve got to take losses as some fish may die.”

Waddington has had some of the same clients for over 20 years. “I’ve got clients in South Africa, Trinidad, Dubai, America, and most recently, India. It’s very much word of mouth which takes time and experience,” he said.

Since Waddington’s main business consists of sourcing high-class koi, frequent travel to Japan is essential. He has visited Japan more than 70 times in his career, spending about four weeks there for each trip.

“When I go to Japan, I’m looking for fish for my own shop but I’m also looking for fish for other dealers. I’m also looking for individual fish at certain sizes, ages, and varieties,” he said. “I might visit 20 breeders in a day.”

Koi carp
A Japanese mud pond where koi carp are grown over the summer months.

He looks for koi with vibrant colours and takes a list with him on trips to find specific koi – perhaps ones with a particular colour or pattern – for customers.

As a result, sellers need to choose koi with prized bloodlines that can only be obtained from selective breeders.

While some may buy koi as a household pet, others purchase the fish to enter them in competitions to name the champion koi, just like in racehorsing, Waddington said.

In fact, one of the fish supplied to a client recently won the South African National Koi Show.

“That’s what people want me to do: find them these fish where they can win shows with them or just to appreciate them,” Waddington added.

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Store owners in Minneapolis are boarding up ahead of the Derek Chauvin murder-trial verdict, fearing potential unrest

george floyd derek chauvin trial
Law enforcement stands guard as crews remove artwork from temporary fencing outside the Hennepin County Government Center on April 2, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

  • Businesses in Minneapolis are preparing for the Derek Chauvin murder-trial verdict.
  • Fearing unrest, some restaurant and store owners are boarding up their premises.
  • An owner of a dry cleaners told the New York Times he’d cleared out his store.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Stores and restaurants in Minneapolis are preparing for potential unrest as they await the verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial.

Chauvin, a 45-year-old former police officer, is accused of killing George Floyd in May 2020. Floyd died after Chauvin kneeled on his body for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

The jury heard closing arguments of the trial on Monday. The verdict could arrive this week.

Floyd’s death triggered months-long protests over racism and police brutality in the US and worldwide. Some stores, including in Minneapolis, were damaged or looted, and now some business owners in the city are preempting possible unrest after the Chauvin verdict by boarding up or emptying their stores.

The Wall Street Journal reported that some businesses, including a Target, were boarded up on downtown’s Nicollet Mall. The New York Times also reported that phone stores, furniture shops, restaurants including Quruxlow and Hook Fish & Chicken, and Mercado Central, a Latino market in the city, had been boarded up.

An NPR reporter tweeted on Wednesday that Haskell’s wine shop was also boarded up.

Samir Patel, owner of dry-cleaning shop Elite Cleaners, told the Times on Monday that he’d moved customers’ clothes to his home. He hadn’t boarded up the shop, he said.

“We don’t know what will happen,” he added.

Read more: Derek Chauvin’s trial is testing the stress levels of Black Americans. Here’s what leaders and allies can do to help.

Patel said his shop suffered half a million dollars in damage in the civil unrest following Floyd’s death. He had to exhaust his savings and retirement accounts to reopen the business, he said. The city looked like “a war zone” at the time, he added.

From Wednesday, schools in Minneapolis will switch to remote learning, and razor wire has been wrapped around police buildings. National Guard troops are already present in some areas of downtown Minneapolis.

Insider has reached out to other businesses and retailers in Minneapolis to see how they’re preparing.

Are you a business owner in Minneapolis? Get in touch with this reporter via Twitter, or email kduffy@insider.com.

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