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Old 04-24-2011, 06:52 PM   #1
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Anyone ever thought about opening a LFS?

I'm curious if anyone here has ever done, or thought of doing this?

I've always had the dream of owning my own LFS, ever since I was a little kid, and I'm now in a position where I may be able to do it soon. If I do it though, I want to make sure I'm prepared...

What kind of things do you guys like and don't like to see at your LFS, what would you like to see more of, what makes you go where you go?

Anyone have ideas and suggestions?

There isn't really anyplace that has that "wow" factor around here, just a generic box store and a small pet shop. But then again, I feel this place may be a little small with only 21,940 people. However, I do have the advantage of being able to live with very little expense here.

What kind of things do you guys think need to be done or considered?
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:21 PM   #2
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I've been thinking about that for along time as well and everything that would be involved is mind boggling to me. Would pretty much be my dream come true if I could do that or work in/ co own a store.
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:22 PM   #3
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We do have a few members who run some level of a lfs...

I think you would have a difficult time with that small of a population, unless you really try and focus on internet sales--and even then fish only is a tough business.
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:30 PM   #4
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That's exactly what I think fort. I'll probably relocate to a bigger city, even if it costs more initially I think it'd be worth it.

I'm conflicted on the fish only side of things, and sometimes wonder if a better idea would be a general pet shop. But then the past shows that pursuing synergies tends not to work out.

I've made an interesting note that most privately owned businesses that have been successful chose only one section of the market to specialize in. I think this may be because they don't have to juggle so many things, and are free to completely master one section of the market.
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:35 PM   #5
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here's the only thing I can tell you that's the main reason lfs's go out of business around here.

If you go into this in debt, you'll barely survive. One lost shipment could cost you your shirt. Make sure you will be financially stable enough to be able to get everything you need and still buy fish before you start.
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:37 PM   #6
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Send severum mama and HN1 a pm. They've done it, and chances are they've got a few pointers.
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:39 PM   #7
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That makes a lot of sense. There is a such an enormous startup cost to undertake something like this... and really the market is not huge, so if you are paying down a bunch of debt, it could make it very difficult. The internet has really hurt small brick and mortar businesses in that regard... the amount of markup you can get away with on equipment has dwindled significantly.
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:45 PM   #8
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here's the only thing I can tell you that's the main reason lfs's go out of business around here.

If you go into this in debt, you'll barely survive. One lost shipment could cost you your shirt. Make sure you will be financially stable enough to be able to get everything you need and still buy fish before you start.
I wouldn't go into debt, or even consider going into debt.

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Send severum mama and HN1 a pm. They've done it, and chances are they've got a few pointers.
Thanks, I'll direct them this way. ^_^

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That makes a lot of sense. There is a such an enormous startup cost to undertake something like this... and really the market is not huge, so if you are paying down a bunch of debt, it could make it very difficult. The internet has really hurt small brick and mortar businesses in that regard... the amount of markup you can get away with on equipment has dwindled significantly.
I think the best way to prepare for this would be to acknowledge that the internet has no borders, and you're in direct competition with every site out there.
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:57 PM   #9
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This business is very competitive. I would guess it is the biggest reason you find all the terrible advice from pet stores.
It is much like the computer industry. If you are well educated in computer hardware, building your own computers etc.. just listen to the sales person talk to someone who has no clue about computers. I feel bad everytime I see someone walk out of a big box store with some overprcied junky computer.
Like the person walking out with a fish bowl and 2 goldfish.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:01 PM   #10
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Another way to help upon start up is to buy stock from local breeders and such, cutting out stress(on both you and fish) from shipping and all the handling, it helps your local economy and you can pretty much hand pick your fish instead of placing an order and crossing your fingers.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:03 PM   #11
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One of the more successful fish only places that I used to frequent actually had a large wearhouse/lab separate from the store front where they bred a lot of their own stock. If you have the space, I would think that could cut down on cost. Although, it seems to me that most of the money is in equipment, and not livestock, at least if you are going to have a storefront. I could be wrong on that.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:13 PM   #12
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This business is very competitive. I would guess it is the biggest reason you find all the terrible advice from pet stores.
It is much like the computer industry. If you are well educated in computer hardware, building your own computers etc.. just listen to the sales person talk to someone who has no clue about computers. I feel bad everytime I see someone walk out of a big box store with some overprcied junky computer.
Like the person walking out with a fish bowl and 2 goldfish.
I'd like to think an honest approach could work. I'd rather build clientele based on excellent product and service.

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Another way to help upon start up is to buy stock from local breeders and such, cutting out stress(on both you and fish) from shipping and all the handling, it helps your local economy and you can pretty much hand pick your fish instead of placing an order and crossing your fingers.
That's an excellent idea! Locally 'grown' stock is always a great sales pitch too.

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One of the more successful fish only places that I used to frequent actually had a large wearhouse/lab separate from the store front where they bred a lot of their own stock. If you have the space, I would think that could cut down on cost. Although, it seems to me that most of the money is in equipment, and not livestock, at least if you are going to have a storefront. I could be wrong on that.
That's what I planned to do. Space is more the concern there. But yes, I think the equipment would bring in a lot of the profit, but you never know.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:14 PM   #13
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hm following and where are you located?
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:18 PM   #14
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hm following?

I'm located on Vancouver Island, on the west coast of Canada.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:20 PM   #15
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well talkk about a ways away
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:52 PM   #16
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I'd like to think an honest approach could work. I'd rather build clientele based on excellent product and service.
I agree and no doubt your customers would be much happier.

I have 2 local independant stores nearby but they both said the bulk of their sales come from dog and cat food lol.
They just cannot compete with the big chains (In my area anyway) when it comes to fish, especially FW.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:07 PM   #17
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To bad you're in canada Talz I'd come buy from/ work for you. I live about 1.5 hours from the border. Pretty sure they wouldn't let me bring fish across.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:23 PM   #18
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We're still working on it, no store front yet. My only advice is to research, research, research. You need to be the best at one or more things. Price, quality, a specialty. The internet is the greatest resource of all. Youtube LFS tours, visit every store you can, work in an existing shop if possible. Don't be in a hurry. You'll need a good business model and plan.

Start here... WWM DWT Aquatic Business
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:38 PM   #19
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You definitely can use the honest approach. My LFS gives nothing but honest advice. Some hometown not-big-chains do take that approach. (of course, I'm not advocating doing what ANY LFS says blindly)
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Old 04-25-2011, 12:59 AM   #20
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To bad you're in canada Talz I'd come buy from/ work for you. I live about 1.5 hours from the border. Pretty sure they wouldn't let me bring fish across.
I got no idea how that works, maybe...

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We're still working on it, no store front yet. My only advice is to research, research, research. You need to be the best at one or more things. Price, quality, a specialty. The internet is the greatest resource of all. Youtube LFS tours, visit every store you can, work in an existing shop if possible. Don't be in a hurry. You'll need a good business model and plan.

Start here... WWM DWT Aquatic Business
Thanks for the link, I'll have a look at it.

I've been researching tirelessly, what I'm having trouble with is the actual business plan part. More so with regards to putting it in writing.
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