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Reef Box

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As a retirement plan I have been throwing around the idea of opening a Fish Store wherever I end up. I have a retirement plan set up to pay all the bills and keep me living comfortable. I'd like to have a little something to keep me busy too. What kind of things outside the obvious (heathy fish and corals) would you like to see in a LFS?
 

Zionas

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Here’s what I’d do:

1. I would refrain from importing any of the following groups of fish:

-Moorish Idol

-Any cleaner wrasses

-Orange Spotted Filefish

-Pacific caught Regal Angels (I’d only import Red Sea specimens)

-Corallivore butterflies

-Leopard Blennies

-Many types of “oddball” fish (Flying Gunards etc.)


Anything with a poor success rate.


I would import these fish on a “special order” list, maybe sporadically, but I will grill any prospective buyer on their experience, current stocking list, tank conditions, QT procedures etc.:

-Leopard Wrasses

-Tamarin Wrasses

-Pencil Wrasses

-Achilles Tang

-Powder Blue Tang

-Powder Brown Tang

-Certain Anthias species

-Copperband Butterflyfish

-Regal Angelfish (even the Red Sea specimens)

-Potter’s Angelfish

-Venustus Angelfish

-Multi-Bar Angelfish

-Seahorses

-Pipefish

-Any shark or ray

-Aggressive damselfish species

-Blue Hippo Tang (to prevent people that just want a “Dory”)




I will only import captive bred specimens for the following species:

-Clownfish

-Anything whenever it’s possible to get a captive bred specimen



I will personally travel to Southeast Asia and other countries to make sure the wholesalers I select don’t get fish from suspicious sources.

Whenever possible, I will go Quality Marine and ORA, Sustainable Aquatics, Marine Collectors, Biota, Bali Aquarich etc.


For corals, with a choice between an Australian and an Indonesian specimen of the same species, Australia wins every time.


I will only source my corals from reputable collectors, and whenever possible, from reputable coral farms like WWC, Tidal Gardens etc.

I would not recommend a tank under 75 gallons for a first timer as long as their home can fit one.

I will turn away prospective customers whom I think are full of crap. I want the livestock I sell to live and thrive.


You want to put 5 Tangs in a 60 cube? Go somewhere else and maybe they’ll gladly sell them to you for the money, but you ain’t doing business with me.


“But I plan to upgrade.” I’ll need to hear at least a somewhat concrete explanation of what you intend to do, where you intend to do it, and when you intend to do it.


My livestock will be among the more expensive per piece on the block, but it’s the quality that matters to me and if anything I’m helping customers save money down the line. If they are so short-sighted as to not seeing that, they can go elsewhere.

I’ll only hire passionate reefers as my employees. We’ll be making decisions together as a team. If somebody’s just in it for the paycheck and so they can keep up with their bill payments, whatever decisions they make for a customer will have to be run past the management team.

:) Just a couple of spare thoughts.
 
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Reef Box

Reef Box

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Tough call. To be honest, I hardly ever buy anything at an LFS anymore. And most of them don't carry much hardware.
This is exactly why I'm asking. I agree, I would love to see more hardware, even if it's just the most common items. I used to go to a place in SoCal that carried a lot. It was nice because when I was one elbow short on a build I didn't have to run all over looking for one or wait for one to be delivered. Great input Thanks!
 
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Reef Box

Reef Box

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Here’s what I’d do:

1. I would refrain from importing any of the following groups of fish:

-Moorish Idol

-Any cleaner wrasses

-Orange Spotted Filefish

-Pacific caught Regal Angels (I’d only import Red Sea specimens)

-Corallivore butterflies

-Leopard Blennies

-Many types of “oddball” fish (Flying Gunards etc.)


Anything with a poor success rate.


I would import these fish on a “special order” list, maybe sporadically, but I will grill any prospective buyer on their experience, current stocking list, tank conditions, QT procedures etc.:

-Leopard Wrasses

-Tamarin Wrasses

-Pencil Wrasses

-Achilles Tang

-Powder Blue Tang

-Powder Brown Tang

-Certain Anthias species

-Copperband Butterflyfish

-Regal Angelfish (even the Red Sea specimens)

-Potter’s Angelfish

-Venustus Angelfish

-Multi-Bar Angelfish

-Seahorses

-Pipefish

-Any shark or ray

-Aggressive damselfish species

-Blue Hippo Tang (to prevent people that just want a “Dory”)




I will only import captive bred specimens for the following species:

-Clownfish

-Anything whenever it’s possible to get a captive bred specimen



I will personally travel to Southeast Asia and other countries to make sure the wholesalers I select don’t get fish from suspicious sources.

Whenever possible, I will go Quality Marine and ORA, Sustainable Aquatics, Marine Collectors, Biota, Bali Aquarich etc.


For corals, with a choice between an Australian and an Indonesian specimen of the same species, Australia wins every time.


I will only source my corals from reputable collectors, and whenever possible, from reputable coral farms like WWC, Tidal Gardens etc.

I would not recommend a tank under 75 gallons for a first timer as long as their home can fit one.

I will turn away prospective customers whom I think are full of crap. I want the livestock I sell to live and thrive.


You want to put 5 Tangs in a 60 cube? Go somewhere else and maybe they’ll gladly sell them to you for the money, but you ain’t doing business with me.


“But I plan to upgrade.” I’ll need to hear at least a somewhat concrete explanation of what you intend to do, where you intend to do it, and when you intend to do it.


My livestock will be among the more expensive per piece on the block, but it’s the quality that matters to me and if anything I’m helping customers save money down the line. If they are so short-sighted as to not seeing that, they can go elsewhere.

I’ll only hire passionate reefers as my employees. We’ll be making decisions together as a team. If somebody’s just in it for the paycheck and so they can keep up with their bill payments, whatever decisions they make for a customer will have to be run past the management team.

:) Just a couple of spare thoughts.
All Valid and a lot that I already had in mind. Thanks!
 

Ron Reefman

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Maybe get experienced reefers who frequent the store to help 'mentor' the newbies that buy there. Maybe offer a getting started class once a month where a few experienced reefers teach the basics and answer questions.
 

skimjim

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As a retirement plan I have been throwing around the idea of opening a Fish Store wherever I end up.
I think you'd be happier and get more return-on-your-investment if you kept a large stack of $20 bills and threw an individual $20 bill out the window as you drove every mile around town.

Dude, your chance of having a successful lil bricknmorter store in all reality past 3yrs is less than 10%

Find a hobby: golf, birdwatching, biking, tennis, hunting, fishing, traveling, something!

I'd just hate to see you lose $50k in 3yrs over a DYING biz model. I live in Cincinnati and of the 5 LFSs there's only 1 that's successful. The other 4 want to SELL their biz but no one wants to buy.

OPEN A DANG SMALL PET STORE RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO A STARBUCKS AND SELL $80 BAGS OF DOG FOOD AT A 500% MARKUP..... THATS!!!! WHERE THE MONEY IS AT.
.
 
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Zionas

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Downside to this is we won’t be able to see and inspect livestock in person. If this is going to be the way things are from now on, I believe all retailers need to learn from Marine Collectors and Humblefish etc. or at the very least get their livestock from the most reputable sources.
 

EMeyer

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My wish list:
Prices clearly marked on every tank, without exceptions.
A full online inventory and the ability to buy online, pick up in store.
Prices need to be competitive with online prices. This means minimizing your overhead. I see too many LFS set up in places I know are leasing for huge costs.

Personally I don't think its a business model that is long for this world, but I think you'll do best if you operate as a hybrid online/brick and mortar store. Maybe the online sales can make enough to offset the losses in the brick and mortar.
 

skimjim

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Downside to this is we won’t be able to see and inspect livestock in person.
Here's a multimillion dollar idea.

The Market is RIPE.... for a tech-savy online seller of fish like LiveAquria to sell fish BUT you can see the ACTUAL fish via a LiveStream video prior to purchase.

It would take a million dollar investment to pull off.... but if you had individual fish for sale swimming in their individual cube and you could watch live video of it swimming around before putting it in the Cart for purchase... that biz model would destroy the LFS market nationwide

They would need hundreds of individual small tanks each equipped with a video camera. Problem.is each individual tank would have to be 1ftx1ft and the P.E.T.A. ppl would probably get to ACLU involved in some lawsuit...

Sell fish online at lower costs but be able to see a live video feed of what you are buying ..... MULTIMILLION DOLLAR BIZ while dodging the P.E.T.A ppl


.
 
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Zionas

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Majestic Aquariums has a rating system for the difficulty of individual species with 1 being the easiest and 5 being the hardest. Maybe that would be something to look into.

For example a Captive Bred Clownfish (Ocellaris) would be a 1, so would something like a Yellow Watchman Goby and Pajama Cardinal. Yellow Coris, Melanurus etc. would also be 1 among the wrasses.

A Yellow Tang, Purple Tang, Sailfin Tang, some easier angels and butterflies would be a 2.

Then 3, 4, 5 etc. with species like the Regal Angelfish, Achilles Tang etc. being a 5.

Powder Brown, Powder Blue would be a 4. Leopard Wrasses would be a 4-5. Copperband Butterflies would be a 4-5.


1= Easiest

2= Generally Easy

3= Moderate

4= Moderately Difficult

5= Very Difficult to Impossible
 

dbowman5

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I think you'd be happier and get more return-on-your-investment if you kept a large stack of $20 bills and threw an individual $20 bill out the window as you drove every mile around town.

Dude, your chance of having a successful lil bricknmorter store in all reality past 3yrs is less than 10%

Find a hobby: golf, birdwatching, biking, tennis, hunting, fishing, traveling, something!

I'd just hate to see you lose $50k in 3yrs over a DYING biz model. I live in Cincinnati and of the 5 LFSs there's only 1 that's successful. The other 4 want to SELL their biz but no one wants to buy.

OPEN A DANG SMALL PET STORE RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO A STARBUCKS AND SELL $80 BAGS OF DOG FOOD AT A 500% MARKUP..... THATS!!!! WHERE THE MONEY IS AT.
.
which is the successful Cinci store and why are they successful?
 

Paleozoic_reefer

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My dream LSF would have prices POSTED on their livestock on ALL tanks...I hate going in a LFS and having to repeat "How much is that?" A hundred times....Also; posting the parameters on the tanks would help when selecting corals (PAR, alk, Ca, Mg) to ensure I have a better chance of success when I take it home or if should even purchase it...
 

Zionas

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Symbols for:

1. Reef Safe (Soft Corals) (Scale of 1-5)

2. Reef Safe (Stony Corals) (Scale of 1-5)

3. Invert Safe (Scale of 1-5)

4. Dietary Preferences (C= Carnivore, O= Omnivore, H= Herbivore, CO=Corallivore)

5. Aggression Level (represent with two swords, scale of 1-5)

6. Need For Sand Bed (Check or X)


These are just generalizations.
 

skimjim

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which is the successful Cinci store and why are they successful?
Aquarium Artisans... they are successful bc they are heavy into servicing Accts with tanks. Their store front is the icing on the cake. Most successful LFSs are 90% service with a boatload of Accts and 10% retail sales floor
 

dbowman5

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As a retirement plan I have been throwing around the idea of opening a Fish Store wherever I end up. I have a retirement plan set up to pay all the bills and keep me living comfortable. I'd like to have a little something to keep me busy too. What kind of things outside the obvious (heathy fish and corals) would you like to see in a LFS?
what i don't know is your retail experience? if you are retiring from being a LFS employee then you have a shot. if not, perhaps working in one (or more than one) where you end up will help you decide if it is something worth doing.
 

Coral in your reef tank?

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