Opening new LFS/Gallery need ideas

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Hi all. Im planning to open a LFS / aquarium gallery in 2021. hoping to stay near the western mass area and looking for some ideas that could bring in new folks to the hobby and still accommodate the existing hobbyists.

My biggest plan is to have mostly Complete systems for sale with fish coral and equipment all wrapped in a nice display and we would provide install/delivery. essentially allowing people to skip the long wait time of acclimation/ bacteria building and everything that comes with starting your first tank. instead I will simply breakdown and setup the display in your home/office ready to go.

wondering what other unique ideas I can add to this model that you guys might be interested in. my focus is less on livestock and more on installs and maintenance. I will definitely have plenty of livestock like coral and fish for sale but too often i see stores with dead fish or the same stock over and over and I want to create a space that has something different that you can check out every time you come in.

what are some cool ideas from other LFS or aquarium galleries that you have seen that I may be able to implement in my own store.

Thanks for your support and suggestions in advanced.
Happy reefing
Josh Rodriguez
Blue View Aquatics
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock

Raege

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Interesting concept be cool seeing some more aquarium love in western ma. Look forward to more info down the road
 

vetteguy53081

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As I did with my LFS, offer great pricing, quality and servicing. I made many house and business calls but it helps with sales, consumer confidence and building a customer relationship. Offering a package may or may not work as customers have different ideas, budgets and requirements.
Have the accessories available and suggest what they need rather than package a reef in which customer may want fish only and not need whats in the package.
 

Dbichler

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I think the hard part of selling complete packages with coral would be not having any die off from the transfer meaning loss of money. I think if a lfs could find a cost effective way to qt I would spend extra money even if it was a hybrid ttm and all you would have to dose is prazi. Also time and money in qt but may be profitable given the right customer base.
 
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Josh@BVA

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My biggest focus for customers are going to be folks that just like what they see and want me to do all the work for them. I find a lot of new people joining the hobby are so uneducated on the subject and dont find success even when they spend a ton of money.

I will have the complete setups but also offer custom designs for people looking for a particular style or look. probably have a large water storage of cycled water for freshwater and salt water so i can add fish/ coral almost immediately. this way i can give that customer that only wants a fish only tank the option and have everything setup from day one. lots of bacteria cultured blocks like marine pure will be sold with these systems as well to keep the tanks stable and not worry about new tank syndrome.

not to ignore the existing hobbyists, I will focus on them by providing high end products like apex controllers, dosers, skimmers and have displays with them running and giving options in store to turn them on and off like a display you would see at a Best buy or appliance stores. This way you can have a tank with 6 different types of circulation pumps, for example, and turn them on or off and see the flow of each before making your purchase.

appreciate all the feedback here. keep the suggestions coming. i want to be a hub that all hobbyists can enjoy and maybe learn something new or play with equipment they havnt had experience with yet
 

Cell

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First and foremost a well trained staff and clean store please! This alone will set you apart from 90% of your competition.

The next thing I'd offer is legitimately quarantined fish.
 

Cell

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If the complete system thing is going to be your hallmark, I'd like an a la carte menu with different range of options within each tier. Provide options based on both budget and system needs such as planned bioload etc...
 
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Josh@BVA

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YES!!! the fish i will keep in stock will basicly be the A La Cart fish that are immediatly available. and I will also have some fancy stuff in stock too like Purple tangs, Gold Torch, Angler fish, and other unique livestock to show off in specimen tanks.

and I 1000% agree a well trained staff is key. too many people complain to me that the store they use only has one guy that knows what they are doing and its annoying to rely on that one guy and find out the day you go visit he is out for the day or busy with 10 other customers waiting to pick his brain when there are 3 othere employees doing nothing
 

Brett S

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It’s a really interesting concept, but I feel like you’ll really struggle finding a market for it. I suspect that with all the labor involved in maintaining these stocked and ready aquariums and especially the labor involved in tearing them down and packing them up and moving them to a customers house that you’ll probably price yourself out of the market to try to stay profitable. I think there will be a very very limited number of people who want to pay what... double, maybe triple the cost just to be able to see it set up and running in the store before they buy it.

Would you also require that you do maintenance on the tank? This would add significantly to the cost, but I think it might be one of the only ways to really guarantee that the tanks will stay the way they look in the store. If someone comes into your store and buys a beautiful tank because they like the way it looks and you go and set it up in their house and give them a checklist of maintenance and feeding items I suspect that a large number of people will throw that list in the garbage and do whatever they want with the tank. Then a month or two months later the tank will look nothing like it did while it was in the store and people will be unhappy.
 
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Josh@BVA

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yes the idea would be get the complete system along with something like 3-6 months of service to make sure everything runs smooth and hopefully they keep us on for the service after that as well. Im actually suprised at my existing clients and how much they are willing to spend on my services so i dont think its too far fetched to imagine the increase in price be laid out with a 6 month payment plan that includes install, equipment and service in one nice package.

I also still plan on having small systems as well like little betta tanks, low effort freshwater tanks, biocubes and other easier items that can sell cheaper and give people the satisfaction of instant success.

I have breaking down tanks to a science at this point too. so as long as its not a 75+ gallon system loaded with livestock i can usually breakdown within 1-2 hours and even faster with some helping hands. I'm hoping that investing most of my revenue in labor up front will save me from having to load up on livestock and equipment just to turn a profit when my time and labor are free(ish). of course this will change when i start adding employees to do the labor for me. but for the first at least 4-6 months it will probably be myself and my partner taking care of everything until we get staff on board and a good flow of revenue
 
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