New Fish Store?

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New Fish Store?

Post  Cuttlethefish on Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:05 am

Hello everyone!!!

It is my dream to one day open a fish store. Now I am young and very optimistic even though I know that small local fish stores haven't done well in the history of small businesses, especially when the big chain stores move in but I'm at the point where I'm trying to throw some figures together. This is a dream that won't happen for years but making a business plan is still a lot of fun! At least for me anyway.

Now, I live in Peoria where we already have two small businesses dedicated to fish, one that specializes in saltwater and one that has more freshwater but still some saltwater. Basically I'm trying to find somewhere where there would be a bit of a market for this sort of thing. I went to Premium Pet Supplies and from the looks of it, they didn't have much of a freshwater selection and no saltwater. Since many of you are from the Bloomington area I though you guys would be a good place to start asking. What do you think? Would there be a market for a fish store around there? Or should I keep looking?

Thanks!!!

Corrie

P.S. I may ACTUALLY be able to make it to April's meeting! Yay! I'll finally be able to meet all of you Very Happy
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Re: New Fish Store?

Post  DavidZ on Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:17 pm

We talk a lot about this Corrie and there is no easy answer.

Personally I think a fish only store would not be very viable, just not enough of a customer base anymore and too much competition from other sources (swaps, hobbyists, auctions, etc). Having a full-line pet store has a much better chance, but there are still obstacles.

With any business it's important to ASK what your customers want, and PROVIDE that at a reasonable price. My experience with the fish stores around here is that they simply don't (and won't) do that. They have what they have - like it or leave it. I don't want Neon Tetras at $4.99, I want less common things at a reasonable price. If I can't get them locally, then I either leave the hobby, or find other sources. And that's what people are doing. I don't mind someone making a profit, but I know the wholesale prices on things and I'm not putting your kids through college on one transaction.

I would love to have a local pet store that provided what I wanted to be able to support, but it just doesn't exist. I will give props to Premium as they have been getting in some different things lately which I hope they are doing well with. I'm in there a lot trying to get the point of the more advanced hobbyist across to them, so I hope everyone does the same. They do seem open to suggestion.

The more we support them, the more likely they are to support us. It's got to be a partnership.

Historically, pet stores (both chain stores and Mom and Pop) have done a great job over the last few decades of selling people things they had no business selling them to make a quick buck (tanks and fish at the same time, fish the average person can't feed or care for properly, too many fish for the tank, etc) and it's run a lot of people out of the hobby. Witness any garage sale with the 10 gallon tank that all have the same story. People bought the tank and 30 fish same day - fish all died - tank in garage sale for $5 - another potential hobbyist out of the hobby.

There is no question Central Illinois is in need of this kind of business, but it would take a lot of money and a lot of work to get people back into a hobby that has been sorely misrepresented in this area for a long time. I'm optimistic that our only remaining independent store (Premium) will see this and come around, but if they don't then that leaves the door open for someone like you (or me if I win the lottery) to come in and do just that.

Good luck and keep dreaming big.

DavidZ
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