PDA

View Full Version : Opening a new LFS



Titanreef
12-14-2016, 10:38 AM
I'm going to open a new fish store somewhere on the north side. Just want to hear some feedback from you guys. Things about location, fish, dry goods, size of the store, etc... Pm me if you don't want to post public.

Demonfish
12-14-2016, 12:15 PM
Most of this area's fish stores are on the north side. Several in Marietta, 1 in Roswell, 2 near Gwinett mall. Several more that are saltwater only. It is tough to do, I know of three places that opened and closed within a few years. You will need a large cash reserve before starting. I suppose I'd suggest Sandy Springs or Buckhead. Since Petland Dunwoody stopped selling fish there is a hole in the FW map. Of course that is likely the most expensive place to start.

bluefalcon505
12-14-2016, 01:30 PM
Somewhere near snellville, loginville, or Athens area would be a good area as well.

Mog Carns
12-14-2016, 02:53 PM
Find a market with a larger than average disposable income and specialize in tank maintenance.
Live Food
Plants


Personally, I am not aware of any other niches that are not currently filled (saturated).


Tanks and Hardware, Chemicals and Dry Food... I think these are the exclusive domain of the big box stores. They would be hard to undercut in a price game, and not enough of a quality disparity to make a market selling "better" products. You might get a few customers, but I would be crippled with the fear of unused inventory soaking my profits.

Livestock seems like it really only works if it is something you can breed yourself. As an importer, you are basically competing against your customers on aquabid/online with no real room for mark up and unsold fish literally eating your profits. If it is something that you can breed in numbers and establish a name for quality and color, you might offset your food costs.




1. Start very small, like out of the basement.

2. Open focusing on plants, with non plant eating fish to basically provide fertilizer. Plants "go better" than fish in many cases during our meetings/auctions.

3. Move slowly into live food to feed the fish and to provide a consistent revenue stream. That opens up specific lines of fish that are picky eaters, and live food is difficult to acquire in small quantities.

4. Establish maintenance plans with people as you can.

5. Sell dry goods that are the same as you use in your own tanks/maintenance plans so no inventory sits.

Titanreef
12-14-2016, 05:15 PM
Thanks guys. I am thinking small spaced to start with, with as much livestock as i can have. Plants ecspecially, when i worked at petland duluth 12 years ago, they had one of the biggest selection for plants. America has not caught on to the planted aquariums like the asian market has. Also thinking about a quarantine tank set up for all fish to be in for 1 week. Thinking of exotic tetras, guppies, cichlids, goldfish, plants and marine fish/coral frags as well as some regular stuff. Also thinking of a website for online sales as well, but for now, probably just a fb page or a youtube channel.

Money wise, i have that figured out for the most part, i have seen a lot of WHAT NOT TO DO in retail fish sales. I dont plan on profiting much at all within the first few years, if any. What ever i make will be reinvested into the store. I dont need a lot of money to survive.

mountainman36
12-14-2016, 07:02 PM
Ive worked at several stores over the years. The first and most important thing ive seen is to build the client base. you have to be different or better. the days of random folks coming by because they were in the area are pretty much done. they will seek you out and find you, and make a specific trip to see you. Thus you need to have an enormous web presence. Facebook is a must, and a website, and submit to all the google search engines etc. Get the word out to the club and everywhere you can think of...yelp too.

Used to be you could sell 100 swordtails a week, but those sales go to the big box folks now. So the specialty folks are the ones you will be catering too. However, we are few and not growing all that much. So you will have razor thin margins. The maintenance services will be key to turn a bad month to a profitable one.

The idea of quarantine is good, but you will loose a lot of fishes before you can sell them, so you will have to adjust your prices. As stated by Mog - you will do well to be able to breed some fishes to sell.

Good luck to you.

Keep the store perfectly clean too...its a monumental task now....the wiggle room is just not there like it used to be.

Tropical
12-14-2016, 09:14 PM
I agree with the others, being active in social networks, forums is definitely important to get the word out.

Cleanliness (no algae, proper lighting) and having everything labeled properly is equally important, as well as treating tanks with sick fish immediately.

You should definitely think of something to make it unique/different. There is a British store I saw that had a little cafe as part of the store. They had a wall of betta fish, an indoor pond and several display tanks with couches and chairs. It was in a mall though, so a lot more random folks coming by. I thought that was pretty interesting.

Just my 2 cents

Demonfish
12-14-2016, 09:37 PM
I agree with the others, being active in social networks, forums is definitely important to get the word out.

Cleanliness (no algae, proper lighting) and having everything labeled properly is equally important, as well as treating tanks with sick fish immediately.

You should definitely think of something to make it unique/different. There is a British store I saw that had a little cafe as part of the store. They had a wall of betta fish, an indoor pond and several display tanks with couches and chairs. It was in a mall though, so a lot more random folks coming by. I thought that was pretty interesting.

Just my 2 cents
You might want to own the space. Stores have failed when forced to move.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

ronv
12-15-2016, 08:17 AM
Much of your high end fish stock could come from members of our club. Someone in the club could produce pretty much anything you want if it is possible to breed in an aquarium.

ronv
12-15-2016, 08:18 AM
Discus from Larry Bugg comes to mind....

Titanreef
12-15-2016, 09:36 AM
You might want to own the space. Stores have failed when forced to move.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

this is something I would like to do, I have heard of some fish stores paying almost $1,000 a day for rent. I'm really trying to figure ways to cut overhead to make things more affordable to customers.

Titanreef
12-15-2016, 09:38 AM
Much of your high end fish stock could come from members of our club. Someone in the club could produce pretty much anything you want if it is possible to breed in an aquarium.

I love the idea of carrying local breed livestock.

mountainman36
12-16-2016, 06:20 AM
this is something I would like to do, I have heard of some fish stores paying almost $1,000 a day for rent. I'm really trying to figure ways to cut overhead to make things more affordable to customers.

most rents are $2500+ for a month for something like 2000 square feet. depends upon where of course. if you are open 6 days a week that about $100 a day...you gotta sell a lot of neons to cover that!! not to mention payroll.

Pierre
12-16-2016, 12:27 PM
Do a business plan. It is a humbling and eye-opening exercise if done correctly. It will also give you a road map to profitability (if possible). Payroll, rent and utilities are your biggest monthly expenses aside from getting the plants / fish.

BUT there are plenty of us who would be more than happy to provide fish for cash as most stores give store credits (maybe for reason). Personally, I don't mind selling my fish for cash at wholesale price. For an LFS, I think it is financially the same (and even better) as buying the same fish from Sunpet.

1 week QT is not long enough... when I import fish, I Qt them at least 3 weeks, but this may not be viable for an LFS. Hence getting fish from local and reputable breeders.

Demonfish
12-16-2016, 12:53 PM
Only a few stores buy fish for cash and often only in small quantities. If asked they will cite GA law and say they like to buy from licensed sellers. GA law for breeding aquarium fish are unclear to me. I would suggest any future store research the applicable laws. The AG dept. regulates food fish and DNR regulates game and native fish.

Brubaker
12-16-2016, 06:42 PM
Go to other city(s) where you would not be a competitive threat and talk to the most successful stores in town, people love to share their information. Also talk to those that are not thriving to find out why. Do your home work.

Zulu
12-27-2016, 01:10 AM
As large as Atlanta is you would think that a store specializing in delivery would do well. You could rent a small warehouse space for cheaper than a storefront, set up a website and do next day delivery and maintenance. The old model of the LFS is dead due to mail order and big box storesMy inlaw once owned 3 stores for 50 years. Now he's down to 1 profitable store due to his sons maintainace service.

Titanreef
12-27-2016, 12:08 PM
As large as Atlanta is you would think that a store specializing in delivery would do well. You could rent a small warehouse space for cheaper than a storefront, set up a website and do next day delivery and maintenance. The old model of the LFS is dead due to mail order and big box storesMy inlaw once owned 3 stores for 50 years. Now he's down to 1 profitable store due to his sons maintainace service.


I agree. I think if I opened one up and ran it the traditional way, it wouldn't last long. We live in the 21st century now, operating a business is different than it use to be. It would have to be different than what is already out there.
I am thinking it's more of an online business, that way people can shop 24/7. As well as a retail location only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the busiest time of the week, primarily selling live stock. Aquariums for sale take a lot of retail space. I don't want to due maintenance because I use to before, making 20% while doing 100% of the work is not worth it to me. I wouldn't want others working for me to only make that. I would do sort of an über thing. If someone wants maintenance, let someone else do it and they keep most of the money while I just take 5% or so for reference.