Toprock is a family and friend business that was started 19 years ago for the love of nature and the addictive pursuit of its hidden treasures and obvious beauty. Humbly started by myself, Nick May, it has grown much larger over time with many new locations and discoveries, several shops and the help of the rest of the team, who have joined as they were needed.. Some of the previous staff have moved on to open their own rock shops and business's. As most rock folks are aware; you can't just hire somebody in this business, you have to find exactly the right kind of people to fit in, so having the right people is an integral part of our whole rock wholesale business.
So here we have it , an international bunch of folks with Toprock, mostly living in the African bush, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa; I am originally from Somerset/Devon, Nicole (Swiss), Denis and Woangy (Malagasy), Widson (Malawian), Mandy (South African) and my father, Gerald who is with us so that he can still show these youngsters how to work (pretty tough too, considering we often work 12 - 18 hour days and that we are not so young), my mother, Pat, who does a whole variety of rock business and non rock business related favors for us. We also have Jane (Capetonian), who does and absolutely fantastic job of keeping our retail shop in the Heritage Centre Hillcrest, Kwazulu Natal in order (Heart of Stone).
I have been seeking and collecting minerals, crystals, fossils and gemstones since birth, almost 40 years now and have a 3000 odd strong collection of some of the most interesting, beautiful and unusual species, hence the Magpie on the rocks of the Toprock logo. The love for rocks does make it difficult to part with many of them and becomes quite a dilemma on a regular basis, especially as I tend to pick many of the pieces as if they were for myself. I am an avid Mineralogist and Paleontologist, Nicole is the nature lover and artist and a dynamite business person, Gerald is the wholesome hobbit farmer and workaholic who is to blame for my work habits, as it is obviously in the genes, Patsy is a qualified chef, and the rest we whip to do all of the work.
The actual rock sourcing part is/was/has also been an extremely difficult system to set up. We operate very efficiently in South Africa, the place where nothing seems to run quite on time and things aren't always what they seem. Cross this with Mother Nature and you have to have extra 'Patients DNA' in your bones. We strive to keep all our dealings on a plateau of everybody gaining from the operation. We are 100% fair and honest with all the miners and guys from the bush and try our utmost to make this viable concern for all of them. They even ask us recommended values and mining techniques, packaging methods etc. and we try and make sure that all of our rocks get to us in good condition and get treated correctly from A – Z. Fairness always pays off, and we have now built up direct sources with over 500 individuals from South Africa, Madagascar, Namibia, Congo, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana, Zambia, Zululand, Swaziland and the whole of the Southern African continent to central African regions. From collecting, trading, prospection, manufacturing, doing shows, owning retail shops and more importantly, actually liking the rocks ourselves, we have built up a fairly decent sized wholesale business which is, of course, centered around our customers, many of whom are now our good friends, We do always like and enjoy feedback from you as well, as even though we are professionals at this, we can always try new things.
We stock the widest variety of African stones on the continent. We are constantly on the look out for the new and unusual, the rare and beautiful. There is always a mixture of different types of items being uploaded onto the website to keep it interesting, along with a regular amount of items that we know that you can do well with as a retail or wholesale outlet. Sometimes we get bulk of selected stock but we also have regular amounts of 'One Offs' and small batches of rare items continuously coming in and out. There is also a section on the website now for selling batches of goods as they arrive, so you have the option of buying the whole lot/pockets /batch /production before we split it up into smaller lots, making this “wholesale” wholesale lots for wholesalers. We do our best to keep it interesting and exciting whenever possible.
There are over 500 new photos taken and uploaded on a daily basis, we are constantly striving to perfect and improve all methods, systems and anything that can make our supply line, and you as content as possible. This isn't always easy, as we have cyclones, wars, bush telegraph and old fashioned transport and communication systems, along with some very sticky African customs people, all of which pose as regular obstacles in the pathway of our business, but we get surprisingly good results all things considered. Of course, we can’t offer you a truckload of bright red gemmy Rhodochrosite crystals at $10, but we do our best to get goods to you at a level where you can make a good preferably very good, living. Being in Africa, where the economy tends to be on a lover level than many other continents, we are at the source and can deliver goods to you, not only base prices, but we can also supply a lot of rocks that you simply cannot get anywhere else. Our aim is to have a good business line where everybody is happy and to create lifestyles that are people and planet friendly.
Normally, to run a wholesale business of any kind, you have to be in a city area somewhere, as that is where the population is centered, but due to our nature needs, we decided to run our business form the country and use modern technology to our advantage. We used to be near Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city and still have a satellite station on a beautiful 1000 acre farm near Hartbeespoort Dam, we were also on a 4500 acre Protea flower farm near Cape Town for half a dozen years and also in the middle of a 10 000 acre forest in the Kwazulu Natal Midlands below the Drakensberg Mountains Near Pietermaritzburg. If somebody had mentioned being in the computer trade many years ago, I would have laughed and said; ”Me Caveman, You Idiot”! But it served our love of nature to further that same cause and here we are, a whole pile of rocks and a whole pole of computers; allowing us to converse and deal with folks all over the world from a very active nature conservancy; more satisfying for us and a direct source for you.