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Old 06-25-2007, 05:29 PM   #1
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I have been offered an LFS!

i was in to one of my favorite LFS the other day to pick up some stuff i needed. i got to chatting with the owner, something i do very often. well he told me he wanted to retire and asked if i was interested in buying the store!!!! 8O

i can not say i am not thinking about it, i have always fantasized about owning my own LFS. it is a well established store (been running for 25+ years) and it appears to do good business.


what do you all think?
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Old 06-25-2007, 05:44 PM   #2
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Why are you even asking? The choice is obvious!!!!!!
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Old 06-25-2007, 05:51 PM   #3
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man, i think this takes alot of the guesswork out of starting a store.

Its well established, it does good business, and people probably trust it.

Best of all, you know your stuff, as long as you could keep the tanks and the store maintained, i would say go for it!
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Old 06-25-2007, 06:27 PM   #4
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OK, I am not exactly an old guy but have known several established LFS that went under rather quickly after new ownership. All of these (3) were had virtually no competition except for Wal Mart and such. Many LFS are succesful because the owners build relationships with people. Very rarely does this loyalty switch over to the new owner. The high prices often overlooked previously are no longer acceptable since "Pete and Martha" aren't running the place. Most of the people I know that owned or own LFS aren't exactly rich by my standards. To me it only gets worse if you take into account that they are responsible for supplying their own insurance, retirement, and other benefit packages. No vacation and long hours seem to go right along with this love. For example if someone makes 50k at salary job, with 4 weeks vacation, insurance, 401k, etc... equals what at a LFS? (A lot of hours slinging fish!!!!) The internet is making it just worse to make a buck. For example I can typically buy anything for considerable savings off the internet that the LFS. Examples: 8 BN 25 dollars shipped compared to 8 dollars a BN at my LFS. I bought 20 dollars of plants from online guy, at my LFS the same plants would have run 100 plus dollars. My HOB filters 50 dollars more at the LFS...... well lets say I go to the LFS to look and tell them all the time I have to buy online (they understand they buy a lot of stuff from these places also).
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Old 06-25-2007, 07:27 PM   #5
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Most owners would not ask a person out of the blue if they want do by their business unless they trusted the person to take care of the customer base they had built up over the years and keep them happy.Small businesses unlike chain stores take great pride in their relationships with all who shop in their store because they keep the doors open where the philosophy of chain stores is usaully " There'll always be another sucker." So I say if you feel comfortable with the offer see if you could spend a few weekends at the store to test the water and get to know a few customers.
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Old 06-25-2007, 07:28 PM   #6
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I would say that if you are really interested in it, do your research first. Don't just jump in head first. In any business, your homework is what will make you or break you. Make sure you know exactly what you are getting into. Other than that, if all looks good, go for it. Even with the long hours, if it's something you are going to enjoy, it just makes it that much easier.
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Old 06-25-2007, 07:28 PM   #7
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I would be upfront and ask to see the store's finical records and history. What are the monthly operating expenses? Inventory expenses? After all is said and done, does the store MAKE money each and every month?

Is this store in Northfield? In college towns, I have noticed a combination of fish/reptile stores. Colledge students tend to gravitate toward the unusual pet that can be kept in a small space with little work.
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:39 PM   #8
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You realize what you've done by posting this here don't you. AA members are going to demand those special discounts (at least i would if i lived near you :-p ) sounds good, but i'd look at the financials deeply (or pay someone who knows what to look at if you don't), look around local areas and see if a lot of people know of this store and its reputation (post on local message boards or groups for example)
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Old 06-25-2007, 09:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flip_lx
You realize what you've done by posting this here don't you. AA members are going to demand those special discounts (at least i would if i lived near you :-p ) sounds good, but i'd look at the financials deeply (or pay someone who knows what to look at if you don't), look around local areas and see if a lot of people know of this store and its reputation (post on local message boards or groups for example)
that is part of the problem, i know nothing about the financial part of the deal, luckly i know people

as far as people knowing about the store, the current owner is very active in sponcering our local fish club, and many member in the area shop at the store currently
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:52 PM   #10
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that is part of the problem, i know nothing about the financial part of the deal, luckly i know people
Knowing someone that knows their stuff, and can look at the books and give you an honest answer, with no bias, is a great start.

If you decide you want to pursue this for real, then something you should consider is who is going to look after the financial side on a day-to-day basis. If that's a skill set that you don't really have, then is there someone trusted that you could partner with that DOES have that skill set? You can always hire an accountant to deal with the financial "stuff", but that person is not really paid to look out for your business or keep you out of cash flow issues.

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as far as people knowing about the store, the current owner is very active in sponcering our local fish club, and many member in the area shop at the store currently
While I agree with the previous poster about business owners not reaping financial benefits like folks might think, it sure sounds like you have a good corporate citizen there. Being around 25+ years (assuming they're making money!) implies they're doing *something* right! Just go in with your eyes wide open!
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