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Old 08-15-2013, 07:51 PM   #1
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Is an aquarium a good business?

Do they make a decent living?
Out of the 15 different aquariums I have visited in the past month, it seems like only 1 or 2 are doing ok. The others always seem empty with customers. And their stock is very small in fish and accessories.
Ive always wondered how they manage.
I do know in the past 15 years or so, at least 10 aquariums have closed down in my city.

Ive always wanted to open up an aquarium, but when I see how much people struggle to keep their shops alive, I look the other way....
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:35 PM   #2
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Are you asking about aquariums where people pay to visit or local fish stores where you buy fish?
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:03 PM   #3
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There's a difference between an Aquarium and a Local Fish Store. I assume you mean a local fish store. I believe it all depends on the area.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:19 PM   #4
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If you mean fish stores than I think it all depends on the competition.

In my town we only have 1 local store competing against 2 large chains. The local store obviously has more healthy fish but doesn't have much of a selection and the prices are high so I believe that only the more advanced aquarists go there to buy because everyone else just wants the cheapest they can get.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeSpell View Post
Are you asking about aquariums where people pay to visit or local fish stores where you buy fish?
Im talking about local fish stores. The small to medium stores in size.
The large ones are normally franchised, so they can rely on some help i guess.

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Originally Posted by Oohitsae View Post
If you mean fish stores than I think it all depends on the competition.

In my town we only have 1 local store competing against 2 large chains. The local store obviously has more healthy fish but doesn't have much of a selection and the prices are high so I believe that only the more advanced aquarists go there to buy because everyone else just wants the cheapest they can get.
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.
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sealife View Post
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
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:18 PM   #7
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Here in Denver we've got a local mom and pop store that's 35 years years old with a great reputation great selection clean Presentation and is always jamming with customers. They are very responsible and always ask how big of a tank you have before selling you fish and always inform about cycling. I guess that this store is in the perfect area to be successful as Denver is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States and has a lot of experienced aquarists in the area. I guess that it all just depends on location.
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:24 PM   #8
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My local fish store has next to no customers usually, but they stay in business from selling expensive fish you aren't able to find at chain stores.
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Old 08-16-2013, 01:04 PM   #9
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My local Maidenhead aquatics, always has a good amount of customers. Their tanks are kept clean and dead fish is very minimal. They offer lots of freshwater species, including a HUGE range of cichlids, as well as they carry around 4 different species of puffers. They will special order in for you which is always good. They also have a holiday section where they can house your fish for a few weeks while you're away. They offer a pretty good marine section too. They have LOADS of tanks! There is always a few deals going on. Their plant section is also very big. From what I remember they have lots of equipment from different brands. They also have a huge shelf and fridge just for food! Staff wise, they don't offer much help unless you ask for it. That depends on who is working there though. I know there is 4 people who always make sure your tank is in good shape for a certain fish.
I haven't been into my local LFS for like a year now. Last time I was there he only had goldfish because the majority of his tropical and marine fish had died off due to disease. My cousins went in there the other day and said it was a nice store. They sold seahorses and a few rarer things!
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