Thinking of sStarting a lfs...in process of thining of things... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thinking of sStarting a lfs...in process of thining of things...

What would you guys look in a LFS? Certain fish you would like to see? Certain invertebrates? Would you like both fresh and salt varieties?

I am thinking that I either would breed fish myself or get them from reputable breeders. I am new to the invertebrates, but have had fish most of my life. So I do know how to take care of tanks, and if I every have questions I hope I can ask here.

Would carrying rarer fish for the collector be a good idea.

I am thinking of having a way to show people all the things that can co-habitate in an [Ebay Link Removed], and give them information on care and such.

All information is greatly appreciated and all suggestions are very much appreciated...

Jen
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 02:46 AM
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You would be a retailer competing with the internet and Petsmart type fish sellers. Forget what species to carry etc., come up with a business plan that spells out how you plan on making money. What you stock is based on how you plan on attracting the hobby buyer versus those others. Nobody in town sells saltwater, or live plants or whatever? Then there you go. Maybe you only want to service tanks and ponds. Maybe you wholesale a limited number of species you breed yourself. But if it is an actual bricks and mortar LFS you want to be, I suggest the niche of Quality. Grab the high end. Offer tank maintenance, etc. In the end, your local situation will likely tell you what niche is open to you.

Put numbers on the plan. Add up expected overhead and determine how much livestock and equipment you need to sell each month to make a living. Question every assumption you make, justify with local research each number. You are talking about a sizable investment of time and money, so be serious about the business side. Only by sitting down and making the numbers work and believing what is behind each number can you figure this out. I started a business and by working through each aspect in writing I came up with a substantially different answer than I expected. It worked.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 03:48 AM
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Personally I would like to have a lfs that had a nice selection of planted tank accessories and plants. It would be nice to be able to get plants, driftwood, plant substrate, co2 accessories, etc... Locally instead of online. I really only have petco around here and the plant selection is limited. It would also be nice to have a nice shrimp selection. I would love to walk into a store and see displays of/ have the option of buying all shapes and sizes of rimless tanks and be able to obtain any plant or fish i am looking for. I am sure all of us would like something similar, but really I am sure in most places there is not a huge market for planted tanks, you will just have to do what you think is best for the area you live in. I do think it would be cool if a store handed out pamphlets or had posters explaining the nitrogen cycle etc to new aquarists and had a well trained, knowledgeable staff.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 04:16 AM
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You will get a bias opinion from the people on this form as this is a planted tank forum.

If you want to succeed,your main focus will be on making money. Also location is huge.

You will want good variety. The same variety you will see in other lfs.

Personally I would like to see planted fish tank equipment at my lsf for cheeeeeep! lol bias!
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 04:52 AM
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 02:23 PM
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I think it's definitely important to note what other LFS in the area are lacking in and carry that. As for species, the top LFS in my area has a mix of both common species and rarer species for the enthusiast. The whole store is heated to the high 70s so they don't need a heater for each tank.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 02:33 PM
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Ive considered the idea of an aquatic plant shop. Most LFS dont carry a large variety. Also if they do have plants they sell out rather quick. Ive done alot of thinking about this, and if I can grow my own plants in large quantities. I could maybe supply LFS, and save them a ton of money on shipping costs.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axelrodi202 View Post
I think it's definitely important to note what other LFS in the area are lacking in and carry that. As for species, the top LFS in my area has a mix of both common species and rarer species for the enthusiast. The whole store is heated to the high 70s so they don't need a heater for each tank.
I agree with axelrod too. See what your LFS lack
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 02:53 PM
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I don't know what the dynamics are in your area, but do a lot of research (overhead, demos, etc.) You need to have some sort of feasibly study of the area to see if it will work. Most LFS I know don't survive without a large install component. A lot of product is moved this way.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-26-2013, 05:19 PM
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In my experience, the fish shops around here lack:

-Plants
-Decent equipment to support plants (real CO2 systems, ferts, etc)
-A variety of test kits.
-Inverts. Period.
-A variety of lighting solutions
-Repair parts for filters (could be a gold mine right there)
-Plumbing accessories

I don't know about the salt side of things. You might also consider some prepared food solutions for your customers. Think shrimp food and such. Something above and beyond what everyone else carries.

Oh yeah, another thing my local shops lack: knowledge. You could really become a hit just by having adequate literature available about the stock you sell, as well as being highly approachable.

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 01:18 AM
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From what I've heard some pet stores don't carry a lot of plants due to the fact that its hard to get them in even if you order over an over.... It's a crazy hobby and rarely ever possible to get what you want at just one shop........ I believe u open up the shop with what u like.. Den listen to what customers what and need in your particular location... It's good to ask the forum... But even better when u have local feedback... Jus my 2cents..


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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 01:19 AM
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I really think planted tanks are the next reefs. More and more people are getting interested in aquascaping. I would love to see a store like the gold fish street in Hong Kong. Good stores do well at creating a market. Steve Jobs was visionary because he offered things people didn't know they wanted yet. If you made a place that was almost like an exibit, where people like to go even just to look around at all the cool stuff, I'll bet you could create your own market.


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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 01:31 AM
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Seems you're hitting a lot of different forums for ideas

I don't think this was ever answered when I responded on a different site, but what are your specialties? What have you ventured into in this hobby?

Like mentioned before, this is a planted forum and so the desires of the people here are going to be biased towards stock and equipment that fulfill that niche. BUT, unless you are familiar with this type of setup you're going to be shooting yourself in the foot when someone comes in and asks for a pressurized CO2 setup, for example, and you aren't sure exactly what they will need or how they work. Just keep your experiences and limitations in consideration.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 01:37 AM
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I dream of an LFS that carries some decent plant varieties. There is only one LFS where I live and it's hard to find anything other than swords and anubias locally, every once in awhile there will be something slightly interesting (like a rotala), but you really have to know what you are looking at because it is usually mislabeled.... I had the guy at my LFS the other day try to tell me that rotala routundfolia was rotala wallichi... not even close :p

It would also be great to have a place that had knowledgeable staff. I find that most staff is severely lacking in knowledge around really basic things like fish that can be housed together, basic plant identification, aquarium maintenance routines, lighting etc. etc. I understand it is our duty as consumers to research before we buy, but it has gotten to the point that I don't trust anyone at any pet store because I assume they have no idea what they are talking about having been led astray more than once. It would be great to have a competent staff that is interested in the hobby and willing to learn.

Good luck to you! what an awesome job that would be (assuming you can make money doing it)

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-27-2013, 02:43 AM
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I'd say that with current market conditions, you have to be just about out of your mind to even consider opening an LFS today. In my own area, most of the traditional single store LFS are gone. Stores that remain are general pet stores, and the large chains. In addition, there is massive competition from the net. A few mouse clicks and whatever you need shows up at your door in a few days.

What I'd want to see in a LFS, and for that matter what people on this form would want to see is almost completely immaterial. People here tend to be very advanced aquarists, and there really are not enough of us around to build a business that is going to support you.

I'd say that if you still want to do this, set up a full pet store. I hate to say it, but the dog and cat stuff is often what keeps the remaining few stores in business.
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