Originally Posted by sealife
The small stores are sometimes cheaper, but usually have smaller range of electrical/chemical/accessory products, and their live fish area look dirty, in some occasions.
Even a medium sized local fish store, was trying to sell me a product they had in stock, after i told them a specific brand i wanted that they were out of stock with. They didnt want to order it in. They just wanted to sell what they had.
Ive seen some nice medium size local fish stores, with clean presentation, and still seem very quiet.
What would a store need to do to attract customers?
I suppose location would help.
Just wanted to exand on my thoughts a bit more
It all depends on the location, upkeep, and stock.
I've noticed my local store, is dead at nearly all times. My theory is because he doesn't order enough variation. He supplies mostly fish you can easily find at the chain stores, and his prices are higher. I think
that if he had a bit more variation he'd do better. I also believe that he can't offer the competitive prices because he doesn't get enough business in to warrant buying a mass amount of fish at once. He does wholesale ordering, but only the smallest amount he's able to get, and I believe the rest of the fish he sells are donations (which explains his mass amount of livebearers). The store is in shambles. Most of his supplies look like they've been sitting there for years because it's priced higher than the chains, and he also doesn't have much of a variety in supplies. Most of his food is omega one and tetra, his heaters are via aqua (sp), etc. I think he buys whatever is cheapest rather than going for quality. The only thing he's really offering that nobody else does is saltwater fish/supplies. Which is how I believe he stays in business.
You have to find a niche and cater to your customer base, which he doesn't have the ability to.
Theres a store about an hour away from me in a larger city that's doing great! There is probably 4-6 other LFS
's in his area but he has the most variety. He listens to the customers and whatever they seem to be asking for the most is what he orders in. He has a large variety rather than ordering a lot of one thing. Both with supplies and fish. And since he still orders a lot, even though it's not a large amount of one type of fish he still gets great wholesale pricing and is able to price his fish for cheap.
Both of these stores have been running for atleast 10 years.
Sorry if that was a lot of babbling. I get carried away sometimes lol