How do you tell a store owner the issue?

Dburr1014

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Sounds like you shouldn’t bother. They know about the mess they have and are possibly just waiting for bankruptcy proceeding to be finalized.
I agree.
It's like telling someone they're overweight. They already know they're overweight and telling them is not going to help them.
 

X-37B

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Many lfs owners dont really care if their tanks look as bad as some say.
You think its a chore maintaining you 1-2 tanks? Try keeping 20 fully stocked tanks maintained.
Most dont have the correct amount of people to get it done.
You can walk into a lfs and say nice. Then you come back in 6 months and go what?
The stores that do care stand out but are hard to find, imo.
I will drive miles to go to a good one. Problem is its hard to find one.
For corals most all are bought from reputable sellers found here.
I have 2 stores for fish and inverts. They will order what I want and I get a chance to see them and watch them eat.
One has very nice coral tanks and the other I would not buy any corals from them so.

Trying to tell the bad ones anything is a waste of energy as they all are quote experts, lol.
 

landlubber

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While i don't know the business owners perspective the unfortunate reality is those are just the basics of running a business.
Most of us would likely avoid Home Depot if the stock was patchy, the prices were outrageous and the aisles were a mess. If the business appears to have no respect for their own day-to-day basics its a stretch to expect the customers to.
 

Jimbo327

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One of the problems is a lot of people like to go to the LFS and check out equipment, and then whip out their phone to place an order online for a few bucks cheaper. The LFS is carrying a lot more overhead. Try to support your LFS. If the LFS is just obviously neglected and dead fish everywhere, there is no excuse for that.
 

landlubber

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One of the problems is a lot of people like to go to the LFS and check out equipment, and then whip out their phone to place an order online for a few bucks cheaper. The LFS is carrying a lot more overhead. Try to support your LFS. If the LFS is just obviously neglected and dead fish everywhere, there is no excuse for that.
in 2024 that is definitely an issue and seemingly getting worse.
I personally will never use skip-the-dishes, doordash or the like for that exact reason and will give my lfs every possible chance to supply anything aquarium related.
Our laziness and lack of forward thinking is a means to an end for the brick and mortar business'.
 

ClayPigeon

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A hobby is no longer a hobby, when you start making money off it.

Money can do funny things to partners.
I took a lien law seminar and the lawyer who was conducting the seminar said that in his experience, partners spent the first half of their time together making a ton of money and the second half trying to screw each other out of the money they had made together. It has always stuck with me.
 

Kzang

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Right so you order from places that their whole business model is corals. Cherry, battlecorals , fraghouse because if they dont qt or arent super strict about what comes in they lose thousands and thousands .if you saw the markups at a lfs you would gladly pay 10% . Im not saying they shouldnt be marked up but ...get good. Lol like the op said when the employees are on their phones and the frag tank looks like a scene out of swamp thing with dying corals in it, what other thought should you have.
That isn’t the only markup. Technically they have up to a 10-40% markup. I just wanted to keep it simple for the sake of the argument of over charging Msrp
 

upstatefamily

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I'm pretty sure I know what store you are talkinga about, if it's the one I think it is my family calls it "The dirty fish store" Last time I was there he had almost completely gotten out of saltwater ( 4 -10 gallons still set up only 3 fish between them, and all the reef tanks gone). Their are 3 petcos that get nice stuff in the area the one in oneonta, and in syracusethe one near Costco and the one on Erie blvd. For private stores in Binghamton their is creature comforts and Livingstons animal kingdom and in syrace there in ABC reefs, Low tide corals, and petland. Empire aquatics is currently not doing saltwater, but the owner said they are planning on bringing it back when they have more time ( the owners child has taken over the store after the owner had health issues).
 

jft

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Sadly, I have gone to hundreds of aquarium stores over my thirty years of keeping Fish and corals. Just one or maybe two were clean and pristine. MOST WERE FILTHY cesspools of a complete MESS. So SAD!!!!
 

MrPike

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Might surprise some of you to find out many of the wholesale prices on goods can be found cheaper on Amazon. The margins are razor thin on hard goods and sometimes negative. Also your looking at an inventory in excess of 100k and low margins, and people who will talk your ear off and demand you show them the ins and outs of the product, and of course provide technical support, all for the privilege of earning 20 bucks.

You have inventory that eats each other, and is shipped with pests that are microscopic and spread to the rest of your inventory. If you are lucky, or good, you will sell the coral or fish, only to have a customer place it in too high of light, or no light, or in freshwater, then come storming back and demand a refund. Cool.

Most owners burn out, the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze. The dilapidated stores you see are the result of multiple factors, not the least of which are online stores that are not required to provide any customer education, just a robot that can pluck a product from a shelf and mail it out at the lowest Google price found at the current hour.
 

Readywriter

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Morning R2R, so I still prefer to see and "feel" stuff when I buy it and this includes stuff for my hobbies. This means I am usually hoping to find something in a brick and mortar before ordering online. In addition, it is always nice knowing that in a pinch, i could run to a store to get dry-goods vs waiting for something to ship (even if it is a dollar or two more). There is not much for fish stores in the surrounding 50+ miles or so, but we have been looking and come across a couple of hole in the wall places that could be awesome, but they all seem to be a let down.

How do you tell these places that the reason people stopped buying your stuff is cause the tanks are filled with bubble algae, etc and not because "there is no one doing saltwater in this city anymore"? How do you tell them that I cant see in through the salt crust to even know whats in the tank? The soggy boxes from humidity on the dry goods, means I don't trust the item works anymore? They even offer to custom order along with there next shipment, but I have no faith in what I am about to get.

I know its a bit of a rant, but having a store in the area and it being successful benefits me as much as the store owner. But how do you tell them to stop watching youtube or netflix, and go take care of the store?
Those sorts of places focus on some niche that pays the bills, everything else is basically there because someone will buy some of it eventually.
 

Readywriter

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Might surprise some of you to find out many of the wholesale prices on goods can be found cheaper on Amazon. The margins are razor thin on hard goods and sometimes negative. Also your looking at an inventory in excess of 100k and low margins, and people who will talk your ear off and demand you show them the ins and outs of the product, and of course provide technical support, all for the privilege of earning 20 bucks.

You have inventory that eats each other, and is shipped with pests that are microscopic and spread to the rest of your inventory. If you are lucky, or good, you will sell the coral or fish, only to have a customer place it in too high of light, or no light, or in freshwater, then come storming back and demand a refund. Cool.

Most owners burn out, the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze. The dilapidated stores you see are the result of multiple factors, not the least of which are online stores that are not required to provide any customer education, just a robot that can pluck a product from a shelf and mail it out at the lowest Google price found at the current hour.
For most things that depends on sale volume. For the place that sells a small amount of items from a distributor or direct from manufacturer yea their margin is gonna be rough. But for someone moving volume their price reduction is going to look something like a 50/10/10/5/5/5 compound reduction. With that example a $100 item would be about $35. And that is why companies are motivated to hold crazy sales multiple times throughout the year, gets their sales volume up so that their normal sales have a better margin.
 

MrPike

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For most things that depends on sale volume. For the place that sells a small amount of items from a distributor or direct from manufacturer yea their margin is gonna be rough. But for someone moving volume their price reduction is going to look something like a 50/10/10/5/5/5 compound reduction. With that example a $100 item would be about $35. And that is why companies are motivated to hold crazy sales multiple times throughout the year, gets their sales volume up so that their normal sales have a better margin.
Which category do you think a local fish store fits into?
 

MrPike

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AB plus is $20.49 for 250ml. They sell it for 24.99.

They hike everything up over the set price by 10-40% except MAP items.
So this LFS has the audacity to price match Amazon, but fails to price match brs, and they get hate on a forum.
 

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Kzang

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So this LFS has the audacity to price match Amazon, but fails to price match brs, and they get hate on a forum.
I asked an employee why they do this, and he said the owner still thinks he is in the pre smartphone era where you couldn’t just look up the prices of things.
 

PotatoPig

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AB plus is $20.49 for 250ml. They sell it for 24.99.

They hike everything up over the set price by 10-40% except MAP

Your brick and mortar has a fundamentally different operating cost profile than BRS. If BRS is selling something for $20.49 and your brick and mortar is selling it for $25 then either:

1. BRS is making an absolute killing on it.
2. Your LFS is making a pittance on it and carries it solely because they need to have these items in stock to meet client expectations to maintain foot traffic.

Staffing, rent, facilities and maintenance costs for a physical location are all dramatically higher than an online only operation. TBH - my LFS are (I have two, one does sales on here from time to time) both great and have amazing display tanks, everything is clean, nice stock, knowledgeable staff, one has a totally fishless coral selection, fish all go through quarantine similar to the recommended one here, all a great experience. They charge more for dry goods than Amazon/BRS, but even then it’s clear the profit center is in aquarium setup maintenance, with the storefront being an elaborate marketing operation for their services - I can’t imagine they make any significant $$$ from either dry goods or livestock. I’d be surprised if sales from that even kept the lights on.
 

Kzang

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Your brick and mortar has a fundamentally different operating cost profile than BRS. If BRS is selling something for $20.49 and your brick and mortar is selling it for $25 then either:

1. BRS is making an absolute killing on it.
2. Your LFS is making a pittance on it and carries it solely because they need to have these items in stock to meet client expectations to maintain foot traffic.

Staffing, rent, facilities and maintenance costs for a physical location are all dramatically higher than an online only operation. TBH - my LFS are (I have two, one does sales on here from time to time) both great and have amazing display tanks, everything is clean, nice stock, knowledgeable staff, one has a totally fishless coral selection, fish all go through quarantine similar to the recommended one here, all a great experience. They charge more for dry goods than Amazon/BRS, but even then it’s clear the profit center is in aquarium setup maintenance, with the storefront being an elaborate marketing operation for their services - I can’t imagine they make any significant $$$ from either dry goods or livestock. I’d be surprised if sales from that even kept the lights on.
Nah, they just greedy. They lose a lot of business from people like me that would rather just get it off Amazon, brs, or premium aquatics and wait 2 days than pay such a markup. They expanded. They ain’t hurting as much as you would think.

If they need to over charge retail prices to sustain themselves, then they need to go out of business.

Other LFS not in my area about an hour drive so don’t this. They have no markup on their dry goods, and their fish and inverts are half the price of that hiked prices LFS.

You should support your LFS, but not when they overcharge.

That example was from BRS prices, but I’m talking about general retail prices across the board. If Red Sea sells this for $10, the LFS, should sell it for $10.

I have no loyalty to anybody except for the best price. It’s so weird to me for people support and/or defended LFS or whatever even if they have high prices, bad tanks, and etc because we should just support them.

If they can’t compete, and maintain their business, then they should fail.

I order 99.999999999999% off online with fish, coral, and dry goods because they offer the best price.

If my multiple LFS was decent, and I’d be more than happy to buy from them than online.
 

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