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Old 04-27-2004, 09:19 AM   #1
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Location: manchester
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Sorry I know its in the wrong place....

I was gonna post this in the UK and Ireland forum, but it wouldnt let me

Im currently trying to do some market research, im looking into starting my OWN fish shop!!!! (really its just so i can have a monster display tank )

i would be grateful if anyone whos interested could tell me what they look for in a LFS.

I personally dont mind expensive fish shops, i prefer them to shops which are full of skanky tanks and those unusual fish...erm i think they are called "upside down bloated dead fish". Whats your opinion?? is there something about your favourite fish shop which keeps drawing you back? if so what is it??.

Thanks a lot for all your help and opinions.
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Old 04-27-2004, 10:18 AM   #2
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df

Well when i go into my lfs i love to see go in and loo at each tank to see if there is anything new. Bascially i go in to see if the owner has anything new. I look for stock!! I like cichlids ecspecially. The tanks which have them draw me back every week. Some times i like seeing those unusual fish but your right it is a releif seeing beutifull tanks full of healthy fish.

Sometimes if a tank at my lfs is larger and more decorative than mine i generally will be scared away not wanting to put those fish into a smaller and less comfortable enironment.

Im not saying make the fish unhappy and want to get out but the monsterous show tank i would think your not going to sell fish from are you ??

any way good luck!!
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Old 04-27-2004, 10:19 AM   #3
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Send a message via MSN to Endgame319
http://www.characin.com/carey/articl...ish_store.html

Make sure to read that before you consider opening up a store.
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Old 04-27-2004, 10:20 AM   #4
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Variety... I know its obvious, but I make weekly treks to my lfs because they're always getting something weird and wonderful in. They import fish from all over the place and every shipment is different. The place gets crowded!
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Old 04-27-2004, 11:06 AM   #5
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Thanks for the article Endgame, very interesting

I have been pondering opening my own fish store for around a year now. And it does look feesable(sp?) I know its going to be hard, we will have to establish ourselves and prove that we actually know what we are talking about.

One of our main ideas so far has been to have a computer online logged onto aquariumadvice.com or a fish profile site, we thought that this would encourage "newbies" to actively research the fish they would like to buy.

Thanks for the input everyone, its much appreciated. The more the better though............
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Old 04-27-2004, 11:17 AM   #6
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The monster tank....................well, my partner (business) has 7 Red bellies, these are what we are planning to put in the display tank, well, at least its a way to keep dead fish out of sight lol.

One thing we have both noticed is that you get a lot of large Plecos being taken back to our lfs and they just get stuck in a tiny tank for weeks because no one wants to buy someting that is already grown. I would put these into a large tank..along with all the other fish which are bought for a 15 gallon tank when they are cute and small.
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Old 04-27-2004, 01:55 PM   #7
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I have a favorite LFS--partly because he specializes in cichlids, but mostly because he KNOWS what he's talking about. He is honest (almost to a fault) and always pulls dead fish ASAP. One day I was there looking around and he saw a dead fish, he took care of it right away and continued to answer my Qs. Although his store is small, he has the best deals in town on fish. He uses local breeders and he is involved with the local aquarium society. Prices on tanks and supplies are competitive (and usually beat) the other LFS and mega-stores around.
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Old 05-02-2004, 07:11 AM   #8
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hi ya gazjeffery

I'm only a newbie to the fish world. I started with a fighter fish ... as we all do

We were going away for the weekend so I asked my 4 year old surrogate grand daughter if she would look after NoNamus for us. She was so taken with him that I asked her Mum if I could buy the 2 girls a fish of their own.

That I did.
But like many fighters he died after about 4 months.
The girls were devastated & cried for a week. I then struck a deal with Janie that I would buy them a small aquarium for Christmas.
Shopping time came & I ended up buying far more than I anticipated.

I set their tank up & was so excited I disappeared back to the lfs & got a smaller one for me & my den.

I didn't know that I actually had to plan for the tank other than I wanted one. MY lfs didn't say to me ... so now you have the tank .... go home & set it up & come back later for your fish.

Do you know what was sooooooo important to me during this time
The tanks were clean & the fish healthy.
The lfs firmly put his thumb down on me & told me exactly which fish I could put together, how many schools I was allowed to have, & once I made my selection limited without any doubt whatsoever, the total number of fish I was allowed.
Then, when I wanted plants, he set about plant recommendations to suit the tank & the fish selection, explaining that the particular plants would aid my fish health & colour.

His attitude was to look after the fish first, then look after me & make a sale second.

I no longer go that store for stock, but I still go for advice & supplies. Aaron had an accident & the store has moved premises, so the variety of fish are not quite the same.

But do you know what was absolutely fabulous about their tanks They colour coded them with sticky spots - colours each for non-aggressive, another for semi-aggressive, another for aggressive, and another for special requirements or loners. So on looking for fish, you look for the dots first & the fish second. This "labelling" took away any confusion on my part & gave me instant recognition of what I could or could not do - subject to advice.

My new lfs is a one stop locally owned fish shop. The husband makes tanks to order together with cabinets & hoods if you wish. They are a wonderful source of advice, have healthy fish, are meticulous about removing any sick fish as they chatter to you (not many I might add), constantly feed vegetable matter to those who are partial to it, & the tanks are pristine.
On top of that, they have all foods & a huge range of equipment & plants.

They are fairly sparse on ornaments.
Ornaments are not for me, but ornaments were obviously important for my wee surrogate grand daughters.
And ... I should imagine that these accessories would give a decent return.
From other lfs's I have appreciated being able to see what the ornaments will look like if they are able to be attached to airpumps. Some ornaments look disgustingly tacky on the shelf, but hey ... they look great in a tank.
I would have thought that you could approach the ornament & airpump suppliers for samples. It would be in the interest of both of them to "flog" their products.

Big pieces of driftwood.
The home cannot de-tannin large driftwood. OK - so you do it & charge a bit more.

Offer a good range of rocks & driftwood.
A tank may not contain only fish.
The younger market will go for coloured pebbles & ornaments.
The other market will go for natural ... & what does the natural want ... driftwood & rocks. All sizes & shapes of both.

I'm a "natural" & I will pay any price to achieve what I want. If I see a rock or driftwood that I want ... it's M-I-N-E.

Money to Spare.
OK - I do have money to spare. But I'm still careful & run around the lfs's for opinions, equipment (very important for the customer so that one can be sure that the resultant purchase if the right one), & different varieties of stock.

No Money to Spare
There will be those who don't have money to spare & will try to get the most out of their $. Be truthful & shift them down a tank size or gently suggest they come back later. Business wise - give them the option. They will respect you for it.

The bargain hunters.
It will always be good for you to hear what the bargain hunters say. When they come into your store & say .... I saw that filter at another store for "x"$'s less ... the best answer is to counter by saying "do you think you are comparing the same model?" Remember, the customer may look at the filter & assume that every filter looking like it is the same filter ... not realising that different models/suppliers are available.
Otherwise ... they are bargaining ... it's up to you to close the sale without discount.
If they are bargaining, it may well be that they like your store, your fish, your plants, your ornaments etc. So they'll come back anyway. Sell yourself, sell your knowledge, the quality of your stock, & the integrity of your equipment.

One Stop Shop
If you make yourself a one stop shop ... the newbies like me will drive all around town & then decide they will luv you. Once a newbie or an oldie finds you, they won't even drive around to the other stores.

Always remember ...
the first tank may not be the last tank or only tank;
we all started from somewhere;
you need to deal with peskie newbies like me & knowledgable oldies;
repeat customers is where the real money comes from;
how may people on this site have multiple tanks
the first tank may not be the last tank (fighting fish to 18 L / 5 gal tank to 112 gal / 445 L tank.
the first fish are not the last fish;
the first plant is not the last plant;
the first ornament may not be the last ornament (addition or change);
and last but not at all least since it's the most important of all .... information, advice, help - especially coping with someone like me who has been homeworking for eons for my 2nd tank & confronts you with .... on my website they are telling me this & this & this. My lfs has coped with this sooooo well & have helped me. Sometimes agreeing & sometimes disagreeing with enthusiasm. (Bit hard on a novice, but I live in the semi tropics of Australia which I think introduces another reasoning to any discussion).

To End
(probably a sigh of relief from you)
my order would be:
cleanliness;
no dead stock but if there is one - remove it in front of the customer;
sick stock out the back where no-one can see;
knowledge;
no end to patient advice even if the same person haunts you for weeks on end - they are planning & probably will be your most lucrative market;
don't ever reduce your level of opinion to make a sale - educate & if start money is a problem - do a small good range & diversify later;
good plants;
good equipment;
a few ornaments, rocks & driftwood to start
& then get stuck into it later.

... always remembering that the key to success is not just your stock - it's your knowledge.

I cannot know what your financial situation is, but usually on starting a business, money is a problem.
Go slowly & concentrate on quality & repeat business.
Consolidate then grow.
Talk to your accountant - (did you guess ... I'm a little pen pusher). You must find a financial balance at the start-up of your business. An enormous % of business fail in under 5 years. The failure rate results from under capitalisation, bad business location, lack of knowledge, failure to understand the needs of the industry.
Whatever you do ... don't go into this with adequate capital & don't overstock. Get your cash flow working & go slowly .... slowly ... slowly. Think of it as cycling your tank.

Remember, if someone has to go elsewhere for the little extras which are soooooooo important, you run the risk that the next place may take your place as their favourite lfs.

I also reckon constant monitoring of sites like this will help you in your business.

I hope I've helped you - if you are leaning to this industry - chances are you are a fish freak Please do not forget the early days that got you where you are today.
Frankie
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My tank is 18.5 litres with 2 species of tetra ... 10 x neons & 6 x head & tail lights, 2 catfish & 1 snail.
We all live in the semi tropics ... Australia.
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Old 05-02-2004, 07:12 AM   #9
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 23
hi ya gazjeffery

I'm only a newbie to the fish world. I started with a fighter fish ... as we all do

We were going away for the weekend so I asked my 4 year old surrogate grand daughter if she would look after NoNamus for us. She was so taken with him that I asked her Mum if I could buy the 2 girls a fish of their own.

That I did.
But like many fighters he died after about 4 months.
The girls were devastated & cried for a week. I then struck a deal with Janie that I would buy them a small aquarium for Christmas.
Shopping time came & I ended up buying far more than I anticipated.

I set their tank up & was so excited I disappeared back to the lfs & got a smaller one for me & my den.

I didn't know that I actually had to plan for the tank other than I wanted one. MY lfs didn't say to me ... so now you have the tank .... go home & set it up & come back later for your fish.

Do you know what was sooooooo important to me during this time
The tanks were clean & the fish healthy.
The lfs firmly put his thumb down on me & told me exactly which fish I could put together, how many schools I was allowed to have, & once I made my selection limited without any doubt whatsoever, the total number of fish I was allowed.
Then, when I wanted plants, he set about plant recommendations to suit the tank & the fish selection, explaining that the particular plants would aid my fish health & colour.

His attitude was to look after the fish first, then look after me & make a sale second.

I no longer go that store for stock, but I still go for advice & supplies. Aaron had an accident & the store has moved premises, so the variety of fish are not quite the same.

But do you know what was absolutely fabulous about their tanks They colour coded them with sticky spots - colours each for non-aggressive, another for semi-aggressive, another for aggressive, and another for special requirements or loners. So on looking for fish, you look for the dots first & the fish second. This "labelling" took away any confusion on my part & gave me instant recognition of what I could or could not do - subject to advice.

My new lfs is a one stop locally owned fish shop. The husband makes tanks to order together with cabinets & hoods if you wish. They are a wonderful source of advice, have healthy fish, are meticulous about removing any sick fish as they chatter to you (not many I might add), constantly feed vegetable matter to those who are partial to it, & the tanks are pristine.
On top of that, they have all foods & a huge range of equipment & plants.

They are fairly sparse on ornaments.
Ornaments are not for me, but ornaments were obviously important for my wee surrogate grand daughters.
And ... I should imagine that these accessories would give a decent return.
From other lfs's I have appreciated being able to see what the ornaments will look like if they are able to be attached to airpumps. Some ornaments look disgustingly tacky on the shelf, but hey ... they look great in a tank.
I would have thought that you could approach the ornament & airpump suppliers for samples. It would be in the interest of both of them to "flog" their products.

Big pieces of driftwood.
The home cannot de-tannin large driftwood. OK - so you do it & charge a bit more.

Offer a good range of rocks & driftwood.
A tank may not contain only fish.
The younger market will go for coloured pebbles & ornaments.
The other market will go for natural ... & what does the natural want ... driftwood & rocks. All sizes & shapes of both.

I'm a "natural" & I will pay any price to achieve what I want. If I see a rock or driftwood that I want ... it's M-I-N-E.

Money to Spare.
OK - I do have money to spare. But I'm still careful & run around the lfs's for opinions, equipment (very important for the customer so that one can be sure that the resultant purchase if the right one), & different varieties of stock.

No Money to Spare
There will be those who don't have money to spare & will try to get the most out of their $. Be truthful & shift them down a tank size or gently suggest they come back later. Business wise - give them the option. They will respect you for it.

The bargain hunters.
It will always be good for you to hear what the bargain hunters say. When they come into your store & say .... I saw that filter at another store for "x"$'s less ... the best answer is to counter by saying "do you think you are comparing the same model?" Remember, the customer may look at the filter & assume that every filter looking like it is the same filter ... not realising that different models/suppliers are available.
Otherwise ... they are bargaining ... it's up to you to close the sale without discount.
If they are bargaining, it may well be that they like your store, your fish, your plants, your ornaments etc. So they'll come back anyway. Sell yourself, sell your knowledge, the quality of your stock, & the integrity of your equipment.

One Stop Shop
If you make yourself a one stop shop ... the newbies like me will drive all around town & then decide they will luv you. Once a newbie or an oldie finds you, they won't even drive around to the other stores.

Always remember ...
the first tank may not be the last tank or only tank;
we all started from somewhere;
you need to deal with peskie newbies like me & knowledgable oldies;
repeat customers is where the real money comes from;
how may people on this site have multiple tanks
the first tank may not be the last tank (fighting fish to 18 L / 5 gal tank to 112 gal / 445 L tank.
the first fish are not the last fish;
the first plant is not the last plant;
the first ornament may not be the last ornament (addition or change);
and last but not at all least since it's the most important of all .... information, advice, help - especially coping with someone like me who has been homeworking for eons for my 2nd tank & confronts you with .... on my website they are telling me this & this & this. My lfs has coped with this sooooo well & have helped me. Sometimes agreeing & sometimes disagreeing with enthusiasm. (Bit hard on a novice, but I live in the semi tropics of Australia which I think introduces another reasoning to any discussion).

To End
(probably a sigh of relief from you)
my order would be:
cleanliness;
no dead stock but if there is one - remove it in front of the customer;
sick stock out the back where no-one can see;
knowledge;
no end to patient advice even if the same person haunts you for weeks on end - they are planning & probably will be your most lucrative market;
don't ever reduce your level of opinion to make a sale - educate & if start money is a problem - do a small good range & diversify later;
good plants;
good equipment;
a few ornaments, rocks & driftwood to start
& then get stuck into it later.

... always remembering that the key to success is not just your stock - it's your knowledge.

I cannot know what your financial situation is, but usually on starting a business, money is a problem.
Go slowly & concentrate on quality & repeat business.
Consolidate then grow.
Talk to your accountant - (did you guess ... I'm a little pen pusher). You must find a financial balance at the start-up of your business. An enormous % of business fail in under 5 years. The failure rate results from under capitalisation, bad business location, lack of knowledge, failure to understand the needs of the industry.
Whatever you do ... don't go into this with adequate capital & don't overstock. Get your cash flow working & go slowly .... slowly ... slowly. Think of it as cycling your tank.

Remember, if someone has to go elsewhere for the little extras which are soooooooo important, you run the risk that the next place may take your place as their favourite lfs.

I also reckon constant monitoring of sites like this will help you in your business.

I hope I've helped you - if you are leaning to this industry - chances are you are a fish freak Please do not forget the early days that got you where you are today.
Frankie
__________________
Frankie
My tank is 18.5 litres with 2 species of tetra ... 10 x neons & 6 x head & tail lights, 2 catfish & 1 snail.
We all live in the semi tropics ... Australia.
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Old 05-04-2004, 02:20 AM   #10
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oops?

I look for healthy stock that colors up naturally with health, no floaters left for decomposing, a person who is knowledgeable but admitting to any gaps in said knowledge, patient and congenial. other things mentioned above but those are the first things that keep me sniffin around.
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Mega-pet stores prolly should not be allowed to sell animals as retail "items".
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Old 05-04-2004, 10:08 AM   #11
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Send a message via Yahoo to oscarbreeder
That may have been a L_O_N_G post but full of VERY GOOD advice.
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Old 05-04-2004, 10:31 AM   #12
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I think you mean me oscarbreeder

Once I started I couldn't stop. Everyone has been a newbie - but I reckon its's only the new newbies who can remember what it's like.
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My tank is 18.5 litres with 2 species of tetra ... 10 x neons & 6 x head & tail lights, 2 catfish & 1 snail.
We all live in the semi tropics ... Australia.
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Old 05-06-2004, 03:20 AM   #13
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Join Date: May 2004
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Posts: 479
I am just starting out as well and I can tell you what so far has drawn me to particular stores.

First of all, GOOD customer service! There is one pet store in particular in my area where I feel like I am INCONVENIENCING the employees by asking them a question. I don't go there anymore. The one I go to has several knowledgeable employees who allow me to browse without bothering me, but if I have a question, are right there to answer it and will spend 1/2 hour with me if need be!

Second, we all know disease is a part of life. How many of us have never had the flu? Fish will get diseases on occasion as well...but I really don't want to see it! Seeing diseased and dead fish floating around in a tank is quite a putoff!

Third, selection! I want to have lots of fish, decorations, gravel colors and sizes, etc, to choose from.

Fourth, I agree with some of the earlier posts, paying attention to the well-being of the fish first and your pocketbook second will draw customers back because they know you aren't just trying to move your overstock into their tanks! However, please don't decide what they should do for them! I have one pet store that I frequent due to good selection, pricing, health, but the manager kind of upsets me sometimes because he tries to tell me what to put in my tank. I ask if he can order me a variant pleco, and he tells me I should put in a Chinese algae eater instead "because they do a better job." A pleco would work just fine, but in his opinion, he would choose a different fish! Well, EXCUSE ME! I thought this was MY aquarium! Help and give advice, but don't force your opinion on customers.

Paul
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Old 05-10-2004, 06:58 AM   #14
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thanks for the help frankie, dont worry its not a sigh of relief im grateful for the input. It makes my life that little bit easier.

Thanks again for the tiem and effort which you have all put in
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Old 05-10-2004, 07:17 AM   #15
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oh yeah, i remember what its like to be a newbie..........its daunting, all the differnt fish, will they be compatable? Will anything get ate.....OH NO ITS ICH!!!!!!! lol, i remeber it to well, the panic when you first notice those little white bumps, the mad scramble to call on your more knowledgable friends for advice.

Those were the best days.............


The reason behind this venture is that ALL out lfs give rubbish advice, one of my friends who i recently intorduced to the hobby, decided to go fish shopping without me, he came back wioth a CLOWN KNIFE FISH for his community tank, i wouldn't mind but its 6" at the moment and the lfs told him it wouldnt get any bigger.......he has since lost, 5 swordtails, and all of his corys.

What our town needs is a shop which VALUES its customers and admits when its uunsure. We are going to have a computer in store, permenantley logged onto a fish profile page, if a custome ris unsure, just show them the page........let them look at the facts, not just my word.
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