Niche Market

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Project by Todd Swartwood posted 09-09-2013 10:43 PM 1903 views 6 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After many years of marketing I decided to try a “Niche Market” The pet industry and mostly fish tank stands and tops known in the industry as canopies. I sold the first one on Ebay and lost money, But the next thing I new my web site was getting requests first slowly than one after another. I shipped Stands And Canopies all over the country as fast as I could build them. These stands were not for small tanks they mostly started at the 150 gal size, and went up to systems that were close to 700 gallons. I did try some other versions like the last picture that would hold 2 55 gallon tanks. Those ones never caught on well I don’t really know why because most fish keepers have multiple tanks. So I ended up only building about 4 double stands.

Thanks for looking

-- Todd Swartwood (Todd Swart-Woodworks)

14 comments so far

View SuperCubber's profile (online now)


612 posts in 1321 days

#1 posted 09-09-2013 11:46 PM

Great work, Todd! You say shipped, as in past tense. What made you stop?

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

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Todd Swartwood

256 posts in 762 days

#2 posted 09-10-2013 01:10 AM

I retired after my 5th back surgery, and have had 7 as of now. I can not put in only few days a week and have not found anyone to take on to work with. I do keep busy in my shop, doing what I want to do now.
I have however bought a 14,000 sq,ft. building that my shop is in, I am about to complete apartment #1 with 2 more apartments to go. And I am also putting in a bakery for my wife to run a Gluten free Bakery.

So I keep busy
Thanks for asking, Todd

-- Todd Swartwood (Todd Swart-Woodworks)

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3834 posts in 1080 days

#3 posted 09-10-2013 01:59 AM

These are some really nice looking stands and canopies Todd. Too bad you are unable to do it anymore. Good luck with your building.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

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39 posts in 757 days

#4 posted 09-10-2013 02:03 AM

Awesome idea and work! I hope you can figure out how to keep going.

-- Jn. 14:6

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2955 posts in 2749 days

#5 posted 09-10-2013 03:58 AM


You do nice work and are a brilliant marketer! Welcome to LJs and thanks for sharing.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

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15838 posts in 2225 days

#6 posted 09-10-2013 09:09 AM

Great work they are beautiful…. Hope the back is OK, 14000 sq ft shop wowza….

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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Lenka Design Workshop

28 posts in 1201 days

#7 posted 09-10-2013 01:31 PM

Wow! reading the comments – what a pace! do the 7 surgeries have anything to do with such amount of work that you’re doing?

-- Our homepage:

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Todd Swartwood

256 posts in 762 days

#8 posted 09-10-2013 03:40 PM

Actually I forgot to mention the morphine pump in my side that makes it possible to get out of bed and do anything.

And I will probably at some point build these Stands & Canopies again. I also believe Furniture Quality Bird Cages
would be a good seller. We have to remember That like we love our tools and equipment, people with other hobbies
will find a way to buy something that displays their hobbies better. It really does not matter what the hobby is.
thanks again, Todd

-- Todd Swartwood (Todd Swart-Woodworks)

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39 posts in 757 days

#9 posted 09-11-2013 01:16 AM

Good point about hobby lovers loves!
I’ll remember that for sure.

-- Jn. 14:6

View nuttree's profile


279 posts in 2360 days

#10 posted 09-11-2013 04:03 AM

Nice work Todd. Sorry to hear about your back. I built the stand and canopy for my 55gal and had two different friends commission theirs. That was about six years ago – haven’t sold one since. May have something to do with the fact I haven’t marketed them either.

-- I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. -John Muir

View DavidATX's profile


25 posts in 838 days

#11 posted 09-11-2013 08:45 PM

Hi Todd,

I have built 2 stands, one for myself and one for a tank at our church. I have thought about marketing to pet stores locally and was curious if you tried that? Also, what would you sell a 55 gallon stand for?
Did you add alot of bracing for the larger stands?

It is a very good looking stand!

View Todd Swartwood's profile

Todd Swartwood

256 posts in 762 days

#12 posted 09-11-2013 11:36 PM

Dave, I did sell a few through pet stores but meeting their price point is almost Impossible to make any money. They have to be written off as advertisement. the large stands were built out of 8/4 or double 4/4 stock. Their was no way I could make money on small tanks like 55’s and smaller.

Thanks again, Todd

-- Todd Swartwood (Todd Swart-Woodworks)

View dgrant's profile


37 posts in 753 days

#13 posted 09-14-2013 10:40 PM

Hi Todd,

Those are beautiful stands and canopies. I have been an aquarium hobbyist since childhood and for some reason, the stand and canopy are as important for me as the tank itself. Before I started woodworking, I spent a thousand bucks for a nice set for a 55 gallon tank. Now, I could build it for less than half that, easy. Your photos gave me a couple ideas for one I am about to make. Thanks.

View Todd Swartwood's profile

Todd Swartwood

256 posts in 762 days

#14 posted 09-14-2013 11:58 PM

I am very glad you can use some of my ideas. If you are going to build a canopy, I changed my design slightly. I made the raised panel areas to lift and stay rather than the whole top face. That works really nice, sorry I could not find any photos of those.

-- Todd Swartwood (Todd Swart-Woodworks)

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