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Old 09-10-2008, 12:37 AM   #1
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Help with a paper: Owning an lfs

Hey y'all, I haven't posted in here for a while, but I was hoping some of you could lend me a hand. I have to write a research paper on how small businesses compete with large chains. I'm particularly interested in the fish industry, since I've entertained thoughts of running a LFS when I get out of school. If any of you work at, or especially own an LFS and feel like answering some of my questions, please pm me. I'd love to use your expert testimony in my paper.

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Old 09-10-2008, 01:01 AM   #2
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My favorite mom & pop store out-compete the chains by:
1. Having healthy tanks & great specimens.
2. Equal or better price (I have no idea how they manage that one since their stock is so much better ....)
3. Knowledgeable service. <They are hobbyists themselves so know a great deal.>
4. Specialize in unusual fish that chains don't stock (in addition to the usual standby).
5. Getting to know their customers - chat with them, get to know what their tanks are like ....

80 gal FW with 30 gal DIY wet/dry/sump.
9 fancy golds, 1 hillstream loaches, 1 rubber-lip pleco (C. thomasi), 3 SAEs, small school of white cloud minnows, planted.
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Old 09-10-2008, 05:38 AM   #3
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This sounds like a pretty scalable question and is applicable to many an industry, well those where a small few compete against a few large anyway. Here in Australia there is a raging battle between the two biggest grocery chains and the independent (indies) stores. The indies compete by offering a better service as eluded to in Jsoong's point 3. They also claim to offer a more relevant range of stock for their customers because the owners get to know them better. These points seems quite interchangeable between the two industries. Even here in OZ we have a few pet mart kind of stores, but you always go to an indie if you want advice that actually means something. Also it's much easier to get the LFS to order something in for you than it is at a pet mart.

Independent Restaurants, Lose the Chains

The above nails home some ways to compete. They're global! haha

hope this helps
7 Gal ,2 Amazon Swords, 1 X Anubias, 1xM 1xF Kribensis, 1 250L/Hr Aqua One filter,1 x 55W Aqua One heater, Ammonia: 0.25, Nitrites: 0, Nitrates 0, 26C / 78F, Ph dropping from 7.2 to 6.8 currently: 7.0.
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Old 09-10-2008, 08:51 AM   #4
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If you need any information I can try and help. Feel free to ask away in this thread, but be wary that actual quotas relating to cost probably cannot be answered accurately...
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:13 AM   #5
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There are lots of ways that LFS can compete with chain stores, most of this has probably been stated already.

They don't have to have the same or lower prices. This is because they can do things that chain stores can't/won't do. For example, if I went to PetSmart and wanted a 125 gallon tank, I'm S.O.L. BUT my LFS would be more than happy to order one for me. They can even order me in a custom built stand in the color I want, at the height I want the tank to sit, with more or less doors, etc. Also, chain stores typically have the normal fish and are very limited in their selection (if they have any selection at all) of SW fish. Most chain stores (except Petco) aren't willing to touch SW fish. Even then, their stock is "common". LFS take advantage of this by offering these common species PLUS having the not so common fish/inverts/corals/plants and the ability to order them if someone is looking for them. I've also found that not only do the LFS have better advice, they usually have experience in dealing with a certain situation such as breeding a difficult fish, medicating an unhealthy fish, problems between two fish in a tank, etc. Most employees in a chain store have little or no experience with these situations and when asked for help in medicating a fish for example they go to the bottle and read off the label and say "this should work" to you. Not exactly the advice I'd be looking for...any idiot can read a label. The most important things that an LFS offers to stay alive are 1) helpful advice/expertise, 2) a variety of specimens to choose from, 3) the willingness to form bonds with customers.
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