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Old 05-17-2006, 08:36 AM   #1
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the perfect aquarium store

Hi all, I am thinking of opening an aquarium shop in my town. There is only 1 shop besides wal mart and it is not the cleanest of locations. was wondering if maybe some people from here could help me figure out the market im targeting.....not sure how this will work out but any help would be appreciated.
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Old 05-17-2006, 09:10 AM   #2
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Do you have the financial backing to take on such a task?
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Old 05-17-2006, 09:43 AM   #3
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I'd be more concerned about the experience with large scale fish housing. Huge and extremely sensitive undertaking IMO. Then again, maybe I'm reacting to my experience with saltwater.

Not sure what you mean about targeting a market. There's SW, and FW. Then there's livestock and dry goods. Not to oversimplify, but give us an example on types of "markets" in fish stores.

Good luck.
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Old 05-17-2006, 10:16 AM   #4
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It's quite the endevour. A friend of mine from college opened one. His marketing was towards the corporations who wanted a decorative SW aquarium without having to do anything themselves. He had a few clever tactics for the initial set up. He found another pet store that had closed down and snagged the aquarium equipment for a lot less $$$ in auction. He invested in a very lowsy location for the office, where taxes were very low and the rent was peanuts. He then used that location as the central hub for the supplies.

As far as I know he's been quite successful. I don't know if that helps at all but it's my 2¢

Jess
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Old 05-17-2006, 02:44 PM   #5
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I forgot to mention, if there is already one aquarium shop (besides wal-mart) in the area, that means there is a good enough market for it in the area. Now, if this place is as "bad" as you say it is, the probability of your store to be just as, if not more, successful is very good.

So if you feel you have the proper financial backing, the know-how, and the man power to establish this kind of a business, and make a profit, then I definatly say go for it.

However, I must say... you should REALLY read this article before making a decision:

http://www.characin.com/carey/articles/index.html
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:21 PM   #6
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right now im trying to figure what this will cost...as for backing hoping for a loan from the bank. not going to mess with saltwater at the start....if people need something for saltwater tanks will be glad to order for them.....but trying to keep expenses down for the start up. was hoping also to buy and sell used tanks.....that way maybe someone dosent have $500 for a new set up they can get it used and save a few bucks....thats just an idea not sure how it will do, never seen it done before. if anyone knows of this practice let me know how its working out.....this may be just a pipe dream but its something i really want to look into as i think it would be a nice source for a second income....wife will work the store for me while i continue to work. the only other choices besides wal mart and the other store i mentioned is 45min drive away. i really belive the market for this venture is in my area but as was mentioned will be costly. well going to keep looking and maybe with a little luck and hard work i can pull it off.
as for the first post was really just trying to get to know the people in this hobby age ranges single or married what other interests they have. i belive u have to really know the people to provide great service to them.
any more advice on this matter would be great. its for the people like us that really enjoy the hobby and just want a good selection and decent price...which i hope i can offer....that i want to do this
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:28 PM   #7
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I was considering starting one of my own, but I know at this point I don't have the proper backing or knowledge.

One suggestion though....instead of buying and selling used tanks, perhaps you could sell used tanks on consignment. You could have the potential seller bring in pictures and descriptions depending on tank size, and let the seller and buyer work out transport on their own. That way you don't have to mess with storing and transporting the items.
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:34 PM   #8
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Another thing you should include in your store is a good-sized section with well marked aquarium plants. I know for me, I cant find ANY locally other than amazon swords and the common ones, and you have to guess on the species because at my LFS they arent labeled.

If you can cater to both the "betta" end that'll be maybe a parent buying a fish for their kid, and the more exotic freshwater species like rams, ghost knives, eels, etc, geared towards the hobbiest, then you've got yourself a good start.

Stocking all the plant substrates would probably be a good move as well.

I really like the idea of buying and selling used tanks too, maybe you could reseal the old aquariums and test them, then bump up the price on them a bit so you make more profit, and the people buying them know they're getting sturdy tanks.

I think you could stay away from salties for the most part, because most likely the people that are really into saltwater will go to a saltwater specialty store.

Just my ideas - these are most of the things I find lacking at my LFS'
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:41 PM   #9
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Thought about commercial set up and maintenance. Dentists, doctors, ect love to have those in their offices and waiting rooms. Some residential folks also.
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Old 05-17-2006, 04:31 PM   #10
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would be more than happy to do commercial set up would also offer to set up for people buying tanks or if they purchased else where setting up for a small fee....i think a good selection of bettas is a good idea may also get into breeding and maybe online sales with them
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Old 05-17-2006, 04:36 PM   #11
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you should rename this thread "lets make a fish store" or something like that and have everybody say what they want from a fish store. i think u should do this but u should find out what other people want. how many times have people said why dont they ask us what they want. so this could be a great chance to make the ultimate store. people could tell u all the brands that they would want available. specific product. if u contact greg watson he may be willing to set up a deal wth u on his dry ferts for planted aquariums. many people probably wish they had access to this stuff in a store. i agree with exodus about the planted aspect of the store. we have the crappiest fish store ever in my town and whenever they do have plants they are soooo infested with snails it isnt funny. you can use this site to cunduct the ultimate study of what a fish store should be. good luck!! i hope this works out.
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Old 05-17-2006, 05:05 PM   #12
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great idea funktastic....anyone with any comments on what would make your dream store chime in and let the us know what you want
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Old 05-17-2006, 05:48 PM   #13
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I don't think a bank in the world would lend money for a start up retail venture off the cuff. There would need to plenty of collateral put up for a bank to make the loan. All in all, it's a very risky venture. Especially with never having a working experience of every facet of what it takes to run an lfs and make it profitable.
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Old 05-17-2006, 06:59 PM   #14
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Tips:
- Find an aquarium society in your area, and see where they buy their fish from. You could even write out a survery that says "what do you look for in a fish store," "what type of fish and products do you usually buy," "what do you dislike about fish stores" etc etc

- One money saver would be to rent a space large enough to have a separate "fish room." This way, the lights from the tank will light up the room and you don't need to pay for overhead lights in that area of the store. (If that set up is possible).

- Honestly, one thing that I like to see is a few large, well kept display tanks (fish and plants included) and contain fish for sale.. but its more for a visual affect. And then a wall of tanks.

- Find a fish supplier in your area and get a ballpark figure on what it would cost to buy x amount of fish each week, and how much you would need to sell in a week at x price to make a profit. Then figure out if that is a logical goal.

Thats all I can think of at the moment =o)
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Old 05-17-2006, 09:05 PM   #15
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hi mate,

just wondering why you plan to do this?
profit or personal satisfaction of knowing you are helping people?
My reasoning is, there is not much money in fish at all unless your dealing with rarer species, but even then, not everyone can afford them either.
Obviously if you have the financial backing to go ahead with it and are prepared if it fall over, go for it.
Just be careful

Matt.
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Old 05-17-2006, 09:43 PM   #16
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You might be better off starting small and working your way up. Like BrianNY said, a small business is expensive, risky, and a ton of work.

You could start out by working from home and selling locally and online. Then, if things do really well you could get your own shop.

Are there local aquarium societies and/or forums you could sponsor in exchange for advertising?
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Old 05-17-2006, 09:48 PM   #17
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I bet everyone has a different opinion on the "perfect fish store." Mine would specialize in plants.

I second the idea of finding out what the locals want, and then partially specializing for a specific need.
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Old 05-17-2006, 10:02 PM   #18
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anyone with any comments on what would make your dream store chime in and let the us know what you want
okaquarium... One suggestion for the store would have to be some good customer service. What I mean is if someone comes in looking for something and you dont have it and you have to order it. Please call them when it comes. It seems like this is a problem with a lot of companies out there. They allways ask for your phone number but never use it. From personal experience the companies I do business with, get more of it if they put forth an effort to contact me and I dont have to play phone tag with them. Other than that I know you cant stock everything but a good selection will keep customers in there and the longer there in there the better chance you will make a sale. Oh, and it does get a little annoying when a company moves there product all over the store, but it keeps the customers on there toes and looking throughout your store. And if they cant find it most of the time they will ask. This brings up a good opportunity to ask them about there tanks, fish, etc and perhaps suggest some stuff to them that they hadn't thought about.

Good luck with your future store.
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Old 05-17-2006, 10:03 PM   #19
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look through all the posts about people complaining about their stores, or walmarts and such and DONT do that!!
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Old 05-17-2006, 10:10 PM   #20
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lol ya that would be good. dont specialize in anything. just give every section the attention as if it were the only section. if u have a planted section think about the appropiate set up for them such as proper lights so they dont get stunted in the tank from low light. if u have rarer speciaes of fish that are more sensitive(like blue rams) make sure to pay attention to the water. and one of the biggest things to look out for is dead fish. nobody wants to look at a tank with dead fish. it is almost impossible to not a loose a few fish when dealing with soo many but if u have a store then take the time every morning to check the tank and several spot checks throughout the day to make sure all is good.
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