LFS: Which area of the country would be best? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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LFS: Which area of the country would be best?

I'm thinking that a good model for a fish store would be one that catered to renters, because most rentals don't allow pets like cats or dogs.

But anyways, which portion of the country would be most ripe for this? For instance, inland areas might like it more because fish are such an exotic departure from their norm of cow fields and such, while coastal areas are pretty used to fish.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 04:37 PM
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While that logic is true, I'm not 100% certain that inland areas would care for more expensive fish or more difficult fish than what is already bog standard. I mean, maybe its just the fact that I've never left the East coast, but I feel like catering to renters and being fancy about things would almost scream New York City area. Only problem with that would of course then be more competition, due to already existing stores in the area, namely China town area.

Florida might also be an idea, due to a ton of condos and the like, but then again I'm not so sure that there is anything you can't already easily get in florida. Same problem as NY with a ton of competition.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by taiwwa View Post
I'm thinking that a good model for a fish store would be one that catered to renters, because most rentals don't allow pets like cats or dogs.

But anyways, which portion of the country would be most ripe for this? For instance, inland areas might like it more because fish are such an exotic departure from their norm of cow fields and such, while coastal areas are pretty used to fish.
Sorry, but you're off on pretty much every count here.

Every city I've lived in, I've not only been able to easily find pet friendly rentals for cats, dogs, rabbits, etc. but I've also never yet had a rental agreement that didn't limit the size of tank I'm allowed. Also, there are rental properties in every part of the country and, I can assure you, even "inland" among the cowfields, folks have heard of that amazing new trend of bringing glass ponds inside and stocking them with live fish.

Every geographical area is going to have advantages and disadvantages. Big cities provide more potential customers, but also higher costs. Coastal areas, especially for reef based stores, offer easy shipping and potentially more folks eager to keep reef tanks--but that very demand means there's already lots of competition set up and running. Very cold regions add hassles with seasonal affect on shipping and sales--but if you take the higher risk you might find yourself the *only* one in the area providing that service. Or you might go out of business (though you'll probably sell a lot of heaters). You'd do better, hypothetically, to figure out approximately where you want to live (mountains, desert, big city or small town, east west etc) and then research that general area's demographics to figure out where the best place to try and set up would be.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Well, it's a marketing challenge.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 05:47 PM
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Do it in Portland on the west side and sell live food and I will shop there weekly. Tons of renters here. You should find a way to cater to Mexicans and you would have half the people here as customers.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 05:57 PM
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How exactly would you market to apartment dwellers/renters? I ask because as an apartment dweller/renter I can't really think of one thing that really sets me apart from other people in the hobby. Well, except maybe that I would never set up a huge tank in a place where I did not intend to live indefinitely. It seems that LFS stores tend to readily stock smaller tanks anyway, I'm guessing this is due more to demand and because larger (100+ gal) tanks are generally custom orders for people who have something specific in mind.

Anyway, I've never felt that my needs have not been met by my LFS or been much different from any other customer so I'm just curious how you might convince me otherwise.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 05:59 PM
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ChicagoLand - Is in need of a good old time LFS. I would enjoy owning one. But, rent/overhead and the internet suppliers have really killed the market.

Look here or and Aquarium related site ands you'll see that people just won't support a LFS to the point they can survive in terms of Aquariums & Equipment.

Wal-mart fired the terminal shot to Mom & Pop shops of all kind in America. The internet suppliers are serving up the Head Shot. I wonder often is process is really a good thing.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 06:03 PM
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ChicagoLand - Is in need of a good old time LFS. I would enjoy owning one. But, rent/overhead and the internet suppliers have really killed the market.

Look here or and Aquarium related site ands you'll see that people just won't support a LFS to the point they can survive in terms of Aquariums & Equipment.

Wal-mart fired the terminal shot to Mom & Pop shops of all kind in America. The internet suppliers are serving up the Head Shot. I wonder often is process is really a good thing.
Agreed... its sad but true. I think that the only LFSes that have managed to make it are the ones that also do installations and maintenance. At least, that seems to be the case near me.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 06:17 PM
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Most of the LFS's can't compete the Petsmarts and Petcos in the Washington DC Metro area. The high overhead probably kill them as well.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 06:24 PM
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Just dropping into an area to start a shop misses one of the remaining items LFS have going for them. The folks in local fish shops are required to have somebody who KNOWS the local area and what works well in that area. If one drops in and starts business without local knowledge, it is doomed. Questions about water come to mind. Little things like where to go for CO2? I avoid shops where the people don't have the answers.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 06:28 PM
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Like any business, you'll have to do market research.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-23-2012, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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I honestly don't see how internet suppliers have killed LFS.

Just about the only thing that I've seen that is cheaper over the internet are heaters + filters.

Everything else is cheaper at the LFS (Petco, for me). Frozen brine shrimp, tanks, fish themselves, plants, all cheaper at the LFS.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 05:49 AM Thread Starter
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So I did read about these guys

http://www.sacramentopress.com/headl...after_52_years

Kinda sucks. But...my business plan is different. It focuses more on smaller fish and smaller tanks. Bettas in particular are good because they're so colorful, personable, and can be housed in smaller tanks.

So generally real estate costs should be lower due to smaller space needed, I'm thinking like a space the size of starbucks, and I'm thinking it would be a good idea to put in place a sort of discount system where if you buy a fish you get like a 10% discount on a tank -- thus encouraging people to buy tanks with each visit.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 05:57 AM
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Be warned, few people are willing to pay $20+ for a show quality betta when one that looks not quite as good can be had for 5 dollars at petsmart or petco. My lfs carries some 30 dollar bettas that just sit there for ages.

On top you have to consider that your clientele isn't going to be made up of people like us. It'll be people looking to get their kid a pet to practice on, people looking for a diversion, not hobbyists. It'll be tough to sell a tiny little pencilfish for 10 dollars when people are looking for big impressive stuff like cichlids that can be had for a buck.

Also, most LFS that are still hanging on really make most of their money doing installations and set ups for businesses and the like. They also have stupid mark ups on consumables like food and water conditioner and pumps.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, I definitely agree. I personally won't pay over $5 for a fish. It is just a diversion for me.

I just think that a "campus pets" store might work well.
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