Something’s fishy in St. Vital


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/03/2021 (827 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Watching the arms of a live sea anemone wave gently as colourful fish swim past can help ease your COVID-19-induced stress. At least that’s what twin brothers Derrick and Lyndon Jameson are suggesting to their customers.

The brothers, age 30, are co-owners of Into the Blue, a saltwater and freshwater ecosystem supplier. Local drivers, cyclists and pedestrians have likely spotted the business’ bright blue lighted sign at 156 St. Anne’s Rd.

Inside, customers can browse through open tanks of colourful sea creatures including living coral, starfish, invertebrates, and a multitude of saltwater and freshwater fish. A pond near the front holds two stingrays while another at the back is filled with orange, cream, white and black koi. Children are able to buy a handful of fish food for a quarter and feed the friendly koi.

Andrea Geary
(From left) Twin brothers Lyndon and Derrick Jameson are shown next to one of the freshwater aquariums inside their St. Vital business Into the Blue.
Andrea Geary (From left) Twin brothers Lyndon and Derrick Jameson are shown next to one of the freshwater aquariums inside their St. Vital business Into the Blue.

Into the Blue also stocks various sizes of tanks and equipment and supplies. Customers are welcome to come in for some expert advice on caring for their aquariums and the Jamesons keep busy servicing aquariums in Winnipeg businesses and homes. Their biggest contract to-date was to design the filtration system for Assiniboine Zoo’s stingray exhibition that opened in May 2019.

The Jamesons both have biology degrees from the University of Manitoba. They first opened their business in a location on St. Mary’s Road and moved into their current space, which is larger, in October 2018.

The business  is a family affair with their sister-in-law Jennifer working as store manager, and their parents and older brother Evan, Derrick’s wife Alanna Perron, and Lyndon’s wife Chelsea Funk all pitching in, especially when the business relocated. Derrick said they spent approximately $300,000 and almost four months to renovate their new location.

Into the Blue, like all Manitoba pet stores, was deemed an essential service so was able to remain open during the pandemic, with customer limits. However, Derrick said the effect of people staying home and reducing their shopping to essential items has had a negative impact on their sales.

“Without the service side, we probably wouldn’t have made it through the pandemic. We lost the busy (fall) season last year,” he said, adding that they have been able to access government grants and loans.

While many businesses have turned to online orders to keep afloat, Into the Blue’s aquatic stock doesn’t easily lend itself to this type of shopping. Derrick said they found out the hard way that the huge slowdown in mail and courier service around Christmas, coupled with problems with air transport as fewer planes were flying, resulted in some creatures dying before they arrived at their destination.

“We have an ‘arrive alive’ guarantee, but we couldn’t get overnight shipping.”

The fish and other living organisms that the Jamesons sell can only survive in packaging for a maximum of 48 hours.

Another pandemic-related challenge has arisen from international border restrictions that cut out the California supplier from which they had previously bought stock.

This leaves them solely dependent on a Toronto supplier and the cost of all items has increased greatly, Derrick said.

That, coupled with increases in airfare for shipping, has forced the brothers to raise their prices.

On the upside, Derrick said, the pandemic means families are spending more time at home and might consider buying an aquarium as a hobby.

“That’s been a blessing.”

Overall, Derrick said, the business has expanded steadily over the past seven years. “We have grown and we have more employees. It has been a long journey.”

For more information on Into the Blue, see

Andrea Geary is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Email her at

Andrea Geary

Andrea Geary
St. Vital community correspondent

Andrea Geary is a community correspondent for St. Vital and was once the community journalist for The Headliner.

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