Is the Local Fish Store more or less important today?

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by revhtree, Jan 11, 2019.

?
  1. is more important

    109 vote(s)
    52.9%
  2. is less imporatnt

    56 vote(s)
    27.2%
  3. not less or not more important than any other time

    41 vote(s)
    19.9%
  1. Andrew de la Vega

    Andrew de la Vega Member

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    LFS is a tough business , some have great prices some price gouge such as Dallas North Aquarium. I understand, you have to stay in business and cover over head. Very very hard..I really think LFS are becoming more scarce, good ones that is. It is also dependent on economy.
     

  2. reefing_with_ricky

    reefing_with_ricky New Member

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    I buy a lot online, but I love my LFS. Just about any time I walk into a big box pet store the fish section is severely neglected by staff with little to no knowledge. I’ve had them try to give me a sick fish because it was slower & easier to catch. That’s when I decided I couldn’t support those stores anymore and sought out my LFS. I think they’re much more important now.
     
  3. Sea MunnKey

    Sea MunnKey Valuable Member

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    andrewkw ... FYI Aussie acan shipment may arrive sometime in February & that is if you're still interested ;)
     
  4. reacclimating 2 the hobby

    reacclimating 2 the hobby patience is... oh look an acro pack fs! R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    Wish I had a LFS... being able to run and grab something last minute when an issue arises can be very helpful.
     
  5. Waters

    Waters "...in perfect isolation, here behind my wall." R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    I didn't read through all of the answers, but I voted less important. Most knowledge is found online now....all but the few good LFSs can't even be trusted to supply trustworthy advice. On top of that, most LFSs can't provide the same variety and prices that you can get online. That being said, I would rather shop locally if I could...because I am impatient and hate waiting for shipments to arrive lol.
     
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  6. Coralreefer1

    Coralreefer1 Well-Known Member

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    Funny, TopshelfAquatics is one of my local pet shops. I would much rather visit my local pet shops because I can develop a repore with the employees, actually see what I’m getting, don’t have to wait for my purchase, don’t have to pay for shipping, and have a lot more flexibility with purchasing corals especially, because, as is the case with TopShelfAquatics they have a farm out back so you can potentially find nice finds that are not available on their website or their main store.
     
  7. saintsreturn

    saintsreturn Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    I feel they bring a different level of importance today than they did years ago. What was once a place to go get all of your supplies, is now a different type of resource/value. I order the majority of my non livestock needs from BRS and sometimes Amasuck. I use the LFS for emergency situations and for general browsing or information. I get to trade coral for things like salt or store credit and see new corals in person. I meet people and have created several relationships from my LFS's. The local thing plays a major part for me, especially when they have good CS. What the internet has done for me personally is open the door for things i didnt know about. For example, when i got into the hobby, I bought an octo brand skimmer because thats the only thing the store sold. Now i have a BM because its easier to clean and fits better in my sump.

    My LFS is no longer my one stop shop for the materials i need, but it is a place i frequent for corals and fish. I also love the advice and seeing these hard working local reefers do well in their business. I have learned a lot from two of the stores, but also was let down. They are the real relationship while online shopping is mostly relationship free.
     
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  8. crusso1993

    crusso1993 Valuable Member Partner Member 2019 Hospitality Award

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    Good LFSs definitely have their place and serve value. Like so many of us, I entered the hobby well before there was even any info available online regarding the hobby, let alone stores. I've seen both good ones and bad ones. As is it with most things, the bad ones never last. Unfortunately, however, there have been good ones that have disappeared too because of the inability to compete on price. Each serves various capacities and values. I like supporting LFS and any type of good local "mom and pop" stores when possible.

    In case you're interested; here is a link to a talk that was given by Jim Walters at MACNA 2014 regarding LFS. It's several years old but I believe it is still worth watching.

     
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  9. lbacha

    lbacha Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    To me the LFS is less important to experienced hobbiest that are on forums like this and know exactly what they are buying. With MAP pricing and such I would buy from a LFS but since there isn’t any good ones close I end up ordering my gear (and my coral/fish online). Where I think the value of the LFS lies is getting new people into the hobby. Stores that carry the basics and can help set up a persons first aquarium (the right way) will go a long way to supporting the hobby and add a value that can’t be gained via online stores where a person can’t see what they are buying being used on a real system.
     
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  10. NewGoby

    NewGoby Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Very important indeed, if it weren't for my Saltwater LFS I wouldn't be here today, they're extremely knowledgeable, and are always up to answer any of my questions, wether it's over the phone or in the store.
    They're one of the sources of my information, alongside this forum, a book I have & the rest of the internet :).
    It's also a place where local saltwater hobbiests meet up during their purchasing, discussing corals & fish.
     
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  11. ca1ore

    ca1ore Valuable Member R2R Supporter CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award R2R TV Featured Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Hopefully you realize that online sellers and LFS rely on a common set of wholesalers. LFS gives you the opportunity to see a fish before you buy; online gives you a 14 guarantee (mostly). To me that's a wash.
     
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  12. Amps Reef Life

    Amps Reef Life That Fish Guy R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    The LFS is super important imo. I visit many LFS but one of them is my favorite and I will drop in for a few things I need or maybe some new fish. If I am looking for a rare fish the sure I may check places online but what also matters here is relationships. At my favorite LFS I have many great relationships with the staff and even the head manager and that's what brings me back along with many other things about the store. The cleanness the staff is super friendly and respectful. You can go in and monitor the fish in person have them fed and inspect them. What's not to like about a good and solid LFS. Sometimes I drop in just to chat with the staff and see how things are going more often than not I leave with something lol.

    Not to forget going into a LFS is what helped me step into this hobby along with reading tons of information on R2R but without someone to talk to in person, I may not have found a hobby I truly love and have a passion for.
     
  13. crusso1993

    crusso1993 Valuable Member Partner Member 2019 Hospitality Award

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    I hear what you are saying. True, there are only so many wholesalers. A good LFS that sells you a diseased fish is much more likely to help you out. Especially so when there is a relationship there. In that past, I had LFS owners over to my house to see my set up and get some ideas. With an online retailer, there is less of a chance to recoup any loss. You're just another online customer. A "number" if you will. There is no connection there. The sense of responsibility is lost. This is just my experience.
     
  14. ca1ore

    ca1ore Valuable Member R2R Supporter CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award R2R TV Featured Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    There’s laughable irony in the poll results (and the verbatim). So many folks extolling the virtues of their LFS .... yet so many going out of business. I’ve known a couple of owners personally and they all tell me that without a services/maintenance business they’d go the way of the dodo also. Perhaps R2R folks are more likely to support their LFS (not through good conversation but by actually spending $$) than the GUM, but I tend to doubt it. I’d be curious to know what percentage of dry goods or supplies folks buy from their LFS. For me it’s 0%. Wet goods, probably about a third.
     
  15. ccoffel81

    ccoffel81 Active Member

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    Just broke a 2” bulkhead 20 minuets ago was leaking got too tight he closes at 6 6:27 now and gave it to me. That’s how my lfs is.
     
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  16. Muttley000

    Muttley000 Valuable Member Build Thread Contributor Hospitality Award

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    Still don't like ordering online although my Battlebox experience was awesome. I have yet to order a fish online, I like a local store for that.
     
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  17. Docdiggy

    Docdiggy Active Member

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    It's nice to see the coral your buying in person. It's also fun to talk tanks with fellow hobbyists in the store too.
     
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  18. Salty Lemon

    Salty Lemon Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Secret Santa Build Thread Contributor AZ FRAG Member Hospitality Award

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    I think much of this depends on what is important to you and where you live. When I think of a lfs -- I'm not talking about Petco, but a legitimate marine life store and all the stuff that goes with it. The good stuff. Just today I was interested in a coral at my lfs and the manager told me that he wouldn't suggest I buy it until I had my tank set up for a few more months. If I ordered online, I could tap the button and put it in my cart, then wonder why it wasn't growing. To be honest, I have also received bad information from the part-time staff at my lfs when I was new to the hobby and believed whatever someone told me because I thought they knew better than me. I had to find the staff who knew what they were doing. It took awhile. But the good ones are worth it.

    However...I know I pay more if I buy through the lfs. I purchased my sump through my local store and then had a heart attack to find out that I could have saved almost $100 on Amazon. If I lived in the middle of nowhere, I'd really value the internet. With a Prime account I could have it on my doorstep in two days with free shipping and a good chance I paid less too. And I could have done all my shopping with a martini in my hands.

    If money is important to you -- online may be the way to go. But friendly service with someone who knows what is in your tank and what they have sold you in the past, well, then an lfs is the way to go. Me? I do both. But I try to stay local as much as possible. I like them in the area (well...35 minutes away) and I don't want them to leave. So I give them most of my business.
     
  19. Richard Severns

    Richard Severns Member

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    If it wasn't for a lfs I probably wouldn't be into saltwater ,like many others have said yes I too order most supplies online, but all my livestock has come from a lfs, on a sad note I mentioned on a earlier post about how good I was in with my lfs, he just announced that he was shuting his doors, major loss for me:(
     
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  20. don_chuwish

    don_chuwish Valuable Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    I'm seeing a tragic vicious circle playing out with the stores I used to love visiting. They can't compete with the stock & selection available online, let alone the pricing, so they have a much harder time of it. Then if they pivot more toward fresh water only, or their fish section is just a part of a larger pet store and they don't give it the attention it needs ... then that just pushes customers even more toward online sources. If I go to an LFS and ask about getting a nano tank, for example, they have to order it for me anyway. No price advantage, not more convenient, so...
    But I do love being able to run over and get something I just can't wait 2-3 days for. It really seems like a losing battle though.
     
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