Keep That Great LFS Afloat!

Discussion in 'Aquatic Creations' started by Myk, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. adam finley

    adam finley Member

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    Well I think everyone on here has made some great points and given good advice. I do a little of both. I think what’s the most important factor in my decision is my confidence in the seller. I would definitely rather buy fish that were already quarantined or coral that’s already been treated even if it cost a “little” more. However if they don’t why would I pay more for something I could get online for less. I understand lfs needs to make a little more then big business of their goods because they don’t have the same volume of sales that’s why I think it’s important they take a few extra steps in pleasing the consumers. If 2 products are the same most people are going to go with the cheapest one. However if you made me feel your product had an advantage ie quarantined already I would pay the extra money on yours. FYI I’m a big fan of mom and pop places so I pray for their survival. The last thing we need is more big businesses control everything.
     
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  2. puffy127

    puffy127 Well-Known Member

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    One thing I see some LFSes do that I like is post stocklists of livestock when new shipments come in and even video walkthroughs of their tanks showing fish eating and the health of the fish. If I saw something I liked, that would get me off my behind into the store. But relying on me driving around to the store to see what is in stock vs me sitting at my computer and seeing what online stores have in stock is no comparison. These stocklists and videos provide something to compete with the online stores at least in terms of inventory and for the videos provide something more than most online stores provide (some online vendors here do it). I understand WYSIWYG photos may be too time consuming but these videos only last a few minutes.
     
  3. adam finley

    adam finley Member

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    Oh I forgot to add in my last post a recent story about my lfs. He has a couple of dt’s and both of them have several bubble tips that keep splitting. Needless to say I have been wanting one and told him if he “frags” one or if another splits I would be interested. Well he promptly walks over to his tank and convinces one to release its foot and said I could have it for 60$. The bubble tip is huge and has been in his tank over a year so I quickly snatched it up. Things like that are what makes customers come back. He had several other large ones that keep multiplying and knew l wanted one so he gave me one at a great price. He could have sold it for more because of the color and size but he hooked me up.
     
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  4. larangcon

    larangcon Valuable Member

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    This is why I like going to our LFS, I like to see the fish swim to see if the fish is eating, all the fish store I have been to, always feed the fish if I ask if the fish is eating. I also like to check on the Corals 360 degrees and they will turn it for you. You can't do that in front of the computer.
     
  5. Krzydmnd

    Krzydmnd Well-Known Member Reef Tank 365 Partner Member 2018

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    When it comes to livestock, A big part of my enjoyment of the hobby is spending an hour at the LFS looking at coral and fish. I'd much rather take something home from the store vs having something shipped.

    I seek out coral shops within a 2 hour radius to me and spend a Saturday afternoon on the road a few times a month. Sometimes I may not ever leave with anything (I always try to buy SOMETHING) but I always meet other hobbyists and (usually) friendly store owners.

    It's another way for me to slow down and enjoy the hobby vs this world of instant gratification we as a society have come to expect if not demand in some cases.
     
  6. Myk

    Myk Aquatic Creations www.ReefDelivery.com Platinum Sponsor

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    I think that there are still A LOT of people that are looking for that same experience from their LFS. I believe this is why making an LFS a destination and an enjoyable experience is going to be what keeps us around. Falls in line with Michael Paletta's recent article. Which is also another motivator for starting this thread and for some changes and plans that I have for my shop.
     
  7. larangcon

    larangcon Valuable Member

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    @Myk are you going to share your plan with us here in R2R
     
  8. Myk

    Myk Aquatic Creations www.ReefDelivery.com Platinum Sponsor

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    Oh yes, absolutely! We came aboard to R2R initially as a sponsor in an effort to evolve our business and expand our reach. Since coming aboard my focus has been to try to extend our business and services to the R2R community as best we can and include everyone that is interested. There are some things that may be only feasible for our local customers, but anything I can do and offer to the R2R community here will be posted and shared with everyone. Even if sharing it here benefits another LFS owner or employee to give them some ideas to use in their shop just as I try to use ideas I see from other shop owners. I also encourage folks to join our email list for regular updates and events. I have not done a great job at getting emails out so far in 2018 as we have been super busy, but will do my best to be more consistent with it. My partner Steph is also working on getting our new website live in the next few days. :)
     
  9. Tiger-Paws

    Tiger-Paws Active Member

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    What is being said here is all to true, for any brick and motar store stick a pin in a local map and draw a 20 mile raidus circle, that is your customer base, if the population and demographics will not support your store within that circle (LFS or otherwise) then most stores are doomed to failure. People (yours truly including) will not drive 30 minutes or more to purchase a luxury item which this hobby is, not when a person can look over the thousands of on-line offerings to their hearts content and have exactly what they want within 24 to 72 hours with a 100% live guarentee.

    I live east of the Dallas area, far enough that I can (and have) shot a gun in any direction and not have to worry about hitting a neighbor because I do not have or want any neighbors. For people who live outside of the larger cities our options are limited, sure I enjoy the occasional trip to a couple of LFS stores in the DFW area but it is a dedicated trip because of the distances involved.

    With 24 to 72 hour shipping of just about everything there is little need for most people to go to a clothing store/mall let alone a LFS. Now if there was a quality LFS within a 15 to 20 minute drive then I likely stop in every couple of weeks just to look around, maybe if they offered something special like their own fresh, live Pods/Zooplancton/Brine Shrimp I would stop by more frequently but lets be honest those a nickle and dime purchases.

    Today a brick and motar store has to be totally unique, offering something very special in order to drive in enough traffic. I have seen a few local stores begining to understand this by setting up sales booths at local outdoor events such a farmers markets/local entertainment and street marktets which not only supplements their sales but drives traffic to their store.

    This in my very humble opinion is the future of local retail.
     
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  10. Amado

    Amado Member

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    I live in central nj .
    I have seen a bunch of mom and pop aquarium stores close and I have to say a lot of them don’t provided a service. I had a bad ato
    And I tried to return it to my local store. They didn’t take it back so I have to work with the manufacture to get a replacement 3 weeks. Now I get everything from amazon if I have a problem with any equipment I can get it replaced. I get all my corals from wwc
    They have a better selection than my local store and I can select what I want without the pushy sales pitch. I get all my information from this forum. The local shops are dying and it’s because they don’t provide a service. Live rock at my local store was selling for $7 lb I have a 125 gallon tank
    Do the math lol I instead ordered the caribe sea life rock and I am super happy. I got my rock/sand and equipment from amazon.
    I got my netptune system from brs (amazon doesn’t carry it) I got my light from amazon.
    And my ice cap pumps/ I order my salt/sump/socks and replacement sponges. I ordered my clean up crew online reefcleaners.org
    I also got my Cheto and plankton from them.
    I love the world we live in we don’t have to settle for bad service at a local store we can go online and reward the people that are doing a good job. I will say in nj I have to drive 30-45 min north to absolutely fish on rt 46. This is the only place I go to buy fish I trust these people. I buy koi for my pond/ fresh water fish and now salt water fish from them.
    They are far and they are expensive but I never have a problem with their stock. I don’t buy fish online.
    This store is far and I drive by no less the 7-10 other fish store but they are amazing. I don’t buy fish often so it’s not a Big deal to take the drive. These guys are the real deal and the best nj in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  11. tony'stank

    tony'stank Member

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    I lived in rural AZ for 10 years. During eight of those years I had no LFS. I would have to drive 2-21/2 hours to Las Vegas to go to a LF. Once a year I would drive 41/2 hours to Phoenix to go to several LFS. Now I am back in MI in the Detroit area. I really appreciate having 6 really good LFS. I even bought my most recent tank RSR 450 from the same LFS that I bought my first saltwater tank from more than 30 yeRs. Ago. I really enjoy going to the LFS every couple of weeks and spending time and discussing reefs with the owners and workers. I appreciate the fav to that I can tell them what fish or invert I want and they will get it for me. Experiences like that are irreplaceable
     
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  12. Myk

    Myk Aquatic Creations www.ReefDelivery.com Platinum Sponsor

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    Shame that you have such bad local service. Good to have options online in this case. We are very fortunate to have some awesome local shops up here in New England like Love The Reef, OSA, Greenwich Aquaria, and many more. Hopefully can add Aquatic Creations to the list too. :)

    One of my bigger questions is whether folks will buy local if they are getting a good service and are paying the same price as they would online? It does not shock me that shops that don't provide good service would eventually go under, same with any business I suppose.

    WWC is def. one of the places doing it right. High quality product and we even offer their coral here in our shop. I am a little old school though and would happily pay $7.00/lb for real live rock than the fake painted stuff, LOL! Now if they leased some acres out in the gulf and got some life on that life rock, I might be in. :D

    I just can't do Amazon. It hurts. I will admit that sometimes I don't have a choice, like just yesterday day I got an order in for supplies for the store that came from an amazon DC and the shipment came in 7 separate boxes. Just to see if I could I put all of the products not including the packing material into 1 of the 7 boxes and they all fit! I think I heard Mother Nature yelling at me and promptly broke down all the boxes. Thankfully we have a cardboard dumpster and a recycling dumpster here at the shop!
     
  13. puffy127

    puffy127 Well-Known Member

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    I think you would have to define good service. To me, to buy local, I would be willing to pay a little more if they had the item in stock and I could see that it was in stock online. That pertains to both dry goods and livestock. If it's just you treat me nice and give me good advice, then no, that wouldn't cause me to buy locally over online when I needed something and was not sure if the LFS had it in stock or not. I get all the good advice I need from these forums. Same with livestock. It's all well and good to see a fish eating and healthy, but most of the time the LFS do not stock the fish I am interested in. If I wanted them to order it for me, then I would have to prepay or pay a deposit. That's not worth it to me b/c the whole reason of buying it locally (and paying more) is to make sure it's healthy and eating. Having the store order something for you defeats that b/c you are on the hook for the special order and can't cancel if it's not eating or don't like the way it looks.
     
  14. Myk

    Myk Aquatic Creations www.ReefDelivery.com Platinum Sponsor

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    Can you give me an example of a fish that you would order online that you wouldn't from an LFS? Seriously, not trying to call you out or anything I am just curious as to how your situation might play out with one of my local customers based on our supply chain and ordering process.
     
  15. puffy127

    puffy127 Well-Known Member

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    Sure, I'm still in the process of stocking, but of the fish I want, none of my LFS typically carry them: Longhorn Cowfish, Semilarvatus Butterflyfish, Yellow Belly Regal Angelfish, Moorish Idol, Borbonius Anthias, Tinkeri Butterflyish, Interruptus Angelfish, Goldflake Angelfish. Actually one of my LFS carried the semilarvatus which I found out when he posted his stocklist online and I promptly went to his store and purchased it (and it was less than the LA price too, but I would have paid more because it was in stock). But the others, understandably are more risky for the LFS to take on, and would be special orders which I would be on the hook for. But if they had these in stock and eating, and I could find that out online (without driving all over town), I would pay more. I can't speak for others, but I shop online because I know what I want and they have the items in stock ready for me to order and it will be delivered to my house in a few days. If I have to drive around or call to see if you have it in stock, then you already lost. If you had a website that provided real-time inventory or stocklists and I saw that you had it in stock, then I would be willing to pay a little more to get it right away.
     
  16. Myk

    Myk Aquatic Creations www.ReefDelivery.com Platinum Sponsor

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    LOL! I literally have more than half of that list in my store right now. :)

    Does quarantine matter to you at all or do you just do your own QT or not QT?

    Lastly, just to clarify, your biggest concern in this case is just real time inventory for livestock and possibly with dry goods as well?
     
  17. puffy127

    puffy127 Well-Known Member

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    Too bad I don't live in your area!
    I do my own QT.
    Yep, biggest concern for me is knowing if you had it in stock both livestock and dry goods. Like I mentioned before, one of my LFS used to do this both for dry goods and livestock. I could order it online and pickup in store. I bought the most stuff from the LFS during that time as they had an advantage over shopping online.
     
  18. Myk

    Myk Aquatic Creations www.ReefDelivery.com Platinum Sponsor

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    Thank you very much for that feedback. That is really helpful!

    Did your LFS happen to mention why they stopped providing that real time online inventory service? Sounds like it was a bad move for them to discontinue that.
     
  19. EddieJ

    EddieJ Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Is an online, real-time inventory really that important? Seems to me a 5 minute phone call can verify if they have something you are looking for.
     
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  20. Water Dog

    Water Dog Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I absolutely agree with your sentiment. We live in a world where the art of conversation is lost unfortunately. While we have all of these innovations in communication and information at our fingertips, real human interaction has devolved and suffered as a result.
     
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