something i've never understood about most retailers....

MaryHM

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In Chicago, we have the luxury of several nearby wholesalers. We can go and hand-pick Nemos without freight or box charges tacked on.

There are no MAC certified wholesalers in Chicago. So does that mean you are not buying any MAC certified fish for your operation?
 

John_Brandt

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MaryHM":1yv94vf3 said:
In Chicago, we have the luxury of several nearby wholesalers. We can go and hand-pick Nemos without freight or box charges tacked on.

There are no MAC certified wholesalers in Chicago. So does that mean you are not buying any MAC certified fish for your operation?

Correct. And if I could get my hands on MAC Certified fish (they are 4 hours away in Michigan, at A & M Aquatics) I could not sell them as such. I am not MAC Certified :wink:
 

kylen

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John,

With all due respect, I think you are going to come out on the wrong side of the stick on this argument.

There is very little in the way of profit for LFS when all is said and done. In the Vancouver area, we have two retail pet supply chains that deal strictly with dry goods...no animals. Why? There isn't the profit.

I also spoke with a customer of mine of Friday...they indicated to me that they may end up shutting down there SW tanks. Why? No profit. They can make more money in that space selling dry goods. Sorry, I have to agree with everyone else.

I also know of another LFS (who will remain nameless) that believes that sick fish are good for business for two reasons. One, they will have to come and buy medication to hopefully treat the fish. Then, if that is unsuccessful, will have to buy a reeplacement if it dies. That makes good business sense.
 

mkirda

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MaryHM":y25to5pv said:
Why aren't you MAC Certified? Are you just in the process of it and haven't completed it yet?

John doesn't have a brick and mortar story, Mary.
He is primarily a service person, but can go ahead and get fish from a wholesaler and provide them to his clients with a suitable markup.
As far as I know, there are no MAC standards written to cover this scenario.
And I'm pretty sure that MAC wouldn't want to go down this road anyway...

Regards.
Mike Kirda
 

JeremyR

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I also know of another LFS (who will remain nameless) that believes that sick fish are good for business for two reasons. One, they will have to come and buy medication to hopefully treat the fish. Then, if that is unsuccessful, will have to buy a reeplacement if it dies. That makes good business sense.

That's the short sighted view.. because the customer fails and gets out of the hobby. Longterm food & supply sales are worth alot more than fish meds, that's the angle of this thread. No, that LFS does not have good business sense.. just a plethora of newbies to keep him going. If there weren't always more people coming in to replace those giving up, stores like that would fail miserably.
 
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Anonymous

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There is very little in the way of profit for LFS when all is said and done. In the Vancouver area, we have two retail pet supply chains that deal strictly with dry goods...no animals. Why? There isn't the profit.

But you guys are overlooking the huge draw live animals have for a store. Even if they didn't sell them there would be a huge increase in traffic between a store that had animals in it and a store that didn't. My only competition in town is still open for only one reason. They have puppies and kittens and we don't. You can't ignore the hordes of lookers that come in "just to look" and end up becoming customers, (if you have a decent staff that is). We are between a resturant and a CiCi's Pizza, and we pretty much turn into the zoo on Friday and Saturday nights. Start giving kids little handfuls of fish food and voila! they'll be back.

And I don't understand the difficulty in keeping fish alive. Especially if that's all that you sell. A true LFS (fish only, not full line) shouldn't really have health or mortality issues, or at least only the ocassionalt bad shipment, which you should be able to get credit from the wholesaler.

And the problem with a square foot of fish room being more expensive to run then anything else is solved by not having just a fish room, but having 25% fish room 75% dry goods space. Not very many customers have just a fish tank you know. :wink:
 

JeremyR

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Yeah, I know fish & animals are a draw. But the fish are still more expensive to take care of than the can of fish food. Of course a true LFS doesn't have huge mortality issues... that's part of vitz's complaint, that most stores never learn proper animal husbandry and just let the money go down the drain with losses and poor customer retention. So what if they make money as is.. a businessman(woman) should realize that they could be making MORE money.
 

JennM

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John_Brandt":3uv4o8p5 said:
In Chicago, we have the luxury of several nearby wholesalers. We can go and hand-pick Nemos without freight or box charges tacked on. The disadvantages of having a specialty marine shop a distance from a brick & mortar livestock wholesaler are apparent. Locating a marine shop far from a center of high-income individuals is dangerous too.

There is great negativity in this forum on starting retail operations. But properly located and planned stores are often very profitable. I would never locate a shop in an area with extreme price sensitivity. Highly-profitable LFSs are commonly in areas where residents have larger incomes. I can imagine a highly-polished marine specialty shop making a killing in Buckhead. I continually hear you say that your customers will run to another shop to save $2 on a $25 fish. I could not deal with much of that. It's unfortunate that you are forced to face that frequently.

I always understand what Vitz and yourself are speaking of with profitability factors. I have also worked for a good number of retail owners who have become quite wealthy from their shops. And they don't often sweep and close the store at night, their on-duty manager does.

By "we" are you referring to yourself and other aquarium service providers? We have a wholesaler here - and sure you don't pay freight or box charges, but you pay MORE per animal - I daresay they are buying from the same LA wholesalers that stores do - and marking up accordingly. I do know that they transship some, but their prices are high because I'm sure they have to repack in LA before they come on to ATL. I still think that $4.95 for a perc is a bit conservative, and God bless you if you can charge $30 for one!

If one never located a shop close to a big wholesale hub, there wouldn't be much past LAX or Chicago-Ohare now would there?

There's nothing wrong with locating a store where there is a good airline connection - for example there are a lot of direct flights from LAX to ATL, and from other points on the west coast. I only have one supplier who ships out of LAX, and one who ships his fish out of his base in Portland, but the rock I buy from him comes through his agent in LAX. One starts running into problems with connecting flights, bumped shipments etc., but hobbyists live in every corner of the country, so if there is no LFS accessible to them, then they *cough* have to resort to e-tail.....

Yes there is a large store in Buckhead - they also have to pay Buckhead rent. I've spoken with the owners of that store, nice guys. Most of the folks who frequent boards like this would blow a gasket over some of the prices that they charge there - some of their stuff is competitive but some of it has been described to me as highway robbery - but hey - if they have customers willing to pay the prices they are asking - well more power to them! It's an expensive hobby. Not everybody is out to find the cheapest price. This is a good city for this industry - there are a lot of good stores and a lot of educated hobbyists.

I know a lot gets put on the retailer's shoulders - but why don't people make the hobbyist more accountable for his/her actions? Slam the people wanting to put Nemo and 20 of his closet friends into a 5 gallon tank. Doesn't take a marine biologist to see that they aren't comfortable in such a small space.....

My husband and I were talking about this the other day, we counted our total number of clients, versus the ones who make us crazy -- only one out of every 100 drives us nuts with repeating the same mistakes and not listening to common-sense advice.

Jenn
 
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JeremyR":2gdngwfh said:
I also know of another LFS (who will remain nameless) that believes that sick fish are good for business for two reasons. One, they will have to come and buy medication to hopefully treat the fish. Then, if that is unsuccessful, will have to buy a reeplacement if it dies. That makes good business sense.

That's the short sighted view.. because the customer fails and gets out of the hobby. Longterm food & supply sales are worth alot more than fish meds, that's the angle of this thread. No, that LFS does not have good business sense.. just a plethora of newbies to keep him going. If there weren't always more people coming in to replace those giving up, stores like that would fail miserably.

thanx for summing up what i was trying to say better than i did :wink: :D



one other point- the 'let's rely on the newbies is also a recipe for long term failure-if the newbies also fail.

word will get around that the hobby is too difficult, and a waste of time/money

successful hobbyists breed more hobbyists :wink:
 

Chucker

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Perhaps a more basic approach should be considered....

Without the livestock, people wouldn't be shopping for food and maintenance items, period.
 
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Anonymous

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Welp - we've seen both sides of coin this year. Due to our move and expansion I stopped ordering fish and inverts in January. Traffic in the store died down noticably - though dollar sales actually held up until the last couple weeks the store was open yet relatively empty of livestock. I expect a flurry of sales when the new store opens later this week but I expect that to die down some until the fish room opens and I have livestock again.
 

JeremyR

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Exactly chucker.. hence the whole point of keeping the livestock healthy so you don't lose more money on it than you have too.
 
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Anonymous

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JeremyR":28bwv8ot said:
Exactly chucker.. hence the whole point of keeping the livestock healthy so you don't lose more money on it than you have too.


:D :D :D
 

D

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John,

Could you give me the names of the Chicago wholesalers. I only know of A-pet and they are pretty bad.
 

John_Brandt

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D,

Wholesalers of marine life?

In addition to Apet, there is Wilson Pet Supply. I have been getting reports of someone who tranships corals from Bali twice weekly here to wholesale, but I haven't figured out who it is yet.

For decades we had International Seaboard Inc. They have since closed.
 

John_Brandt

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JennM":1jfx5y2p said:
John said, "In Chicago, we have the luxury of several nearby wholesalers."

By "we" are you referring to yourself and other aquarium service providers?


I still think that $4.95 for a perc is a bit conservative...

Jenn

Jenn,

"We" means anyone who purchases animals wholesale to be sold at retail.

The example of $4.95 is not perc, it's ocellaris.
 

JeremyR

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I worked at a store that bought from international in the early 90's.. were great fish then, but I think they were mostly phillipine stuffs.
 
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