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Old 01-10-2014, 12:36 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Mebbid View Post
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The thing that drew me back to my LFS when I seriously entered the hobby were some of the odd fish that he managed to bring in from time to time. Shell dwelling cichlids, some of the more colorful killifish, hard to find synodontis cats. A LFS really needs to distinguish itself from the big box stores to get business.
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Old 01-10-2014, 05:19 PM   #22
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Starting small makes sense from a business standpoint, unless the person has a lot to invest in a potential failure, considering that the less common fish cost a lot more to stock. The local community is going to determine whether or not a specialty angle is worthwhile. If there isn't a decent sized serious fishkeeping community then I'd be wary of it. And to add to that, if you don't have a person in charge of the section that really knows fish and knows what sells and what doesn't, then it can be a total crapshoot.

Most of the best stores started out small, and even today they still have a wide range of the bread and butter varieties that most consumers are after. They are often cheap and plentiful because they are some of the most popular. I believe that most people are going to go for 5 $2 fish over 1 $10 one, especially if they don't either understand or care to know why that uncommon fish costs so much more.

Personally I love stores that have all kinds of uncommon stuff that I can't find at a big box store, but coming from a business owner's perspective I'd go with what I know sells quickly in my prospective market and build from there.
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Old 01-10-2014, 07:10 PM   #23
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Yes variety is going to add to the people who make impulse buys and keep people coming back to see what else shows up in the shop. Rare fish when starting out may not be a great idea to keep in tank but if they can have a sign saying they can order in different fish if required when they can find them it might skirt that issue and add to making customers feel the store works for them as opposed to being there to just take their money. My LFS has done a couple of small things to get my loyalty and i'll pay higher prices on big items like filters there because of it.

They gave me a sample plant in bag Crypt pack that a distributer gave them which i was very pleased with and have bought 5 more of the bags since for $55 when i could have got similar plants online for about $10-20 less. And yesterday they asked if i would like a free 2' tank with some goldfish in that they have been maintaining at a pub since they know i have some Comets. I missed out on the free 4'x3' tank that the same pub gave away fully stocked with cichlids and some other very nice fish but a free 2' tank is nice consolation prize and they've got a very loyal customer now.
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Old 01-10-2014, 07:51 PM   #24
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Somebody I know opened an LFS in Toronto in 2006. He started with mostly bread and butter fish- corys, tetras, loaches, plecos, barbs, but he also had a decent cichlid section. He did ok, but he was just scraping by. He wasn't making great profits.

Then he had the idea to become the only LFS in the area that specializes in cichlids. He now does more business than just about any fish store or fish section in the city, has moved to a larger location, and draws in almost every cichlid enthusiast in the city due to his constant level of fish quality. He buys all his fish locally from local breeders. He only imports oddballs like rare cryptoheros and so forth.

My suggestion for your reptile store wanting to start a fish section is to reach out to the local fish keeping community and find out what the hobbyists are doing. Hobbyists buy sometimes hundreds of fish per year. Much better people to deal with than fly-by-night fish keepers, who will only buy fish once or twice.
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Old 01-10-2014, 07:58 PM   #25
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One thing that will be important to them is having a very knowledgeable aquarium keeper or two. The things I like about the three LFS that I go to is that the people working in the fish section are very smart and will give you advice that is actually correct!
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