1. Welcome to the shiny new site! Please have a look around and let us know how its working for you. Please note that all returning members will need to reset your passwords to login again. Click on "forgot password" to reset your password. If you still have issues then email us at board@marinecolorado.org Thanks
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Site Upgrade complete! A new version of the forum software has been uploaded. Please let us know if you have any issues. Thanks

Never catches on

Discussion in 'General Reefkeeping Discussion' started by damontoy, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. damontoy

    damontoy Amphipod M.A.S.C Club Member

    Why doesn't a metro area the size of Denver have more LFS's. I'm told there are over 50 in the Dallas area. It's frustrating that we have like 3 around here. Just tired of seeing the same old things each time I go to the store.
  2. scchase

    scchase Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. B.O.D. Member-at-Large

    I love the 45 minute drive, thought when I moved to Denver I would be closer to some stores, went from haveing 3 in less than 30 minutes in Loveland to 45 to the closest on a good day as of right now.
    Texco likes this.
  3. JuanGutz

    JuanGutz Marlin M.A.S.C Club Member

    It is annoying, fish stores are far a few but our local coral vendors although may be a far drive for some are fire. I really think we have some of the best around and in state shipping is $15 for most of them. So our lfs may be lacking but our coral vendors make up for it. That's how I feel.
  4. MuralReef

    MuralReef Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. MASC Vice-President

    I'd love to see another LFS out in Aurora, but really if I want something special I order from one of our vendors. The corals that I do but I get from our vendors. All I do when I go to most of the shops is window shop because they don't usually have that special or unique fish or coral I'm looking for.
  5. Balz3352

    Balz3352 Marlin M.A.S.C Club Member

    Try being in thornton... There's nothing
    J.guokas likes this.
  6. Fourthwind

    Fourthwind Amphipod M.A.S.C Club Member

  7. MartinsReef

    MartinsReef Marlin M.A.S.C Club Member

    Try being in Northeast Brighton! All LFS are south or west of us.
    Irishman likes this.
  8. Irishman

    Irishman Cuttle Fish M.A.S.C Club Member

    I'm right there with Martin. 45 min to Ft. Collins or Aquaric, I try to hit multiple on one day.

    A store in Brighton by 76 or 25 would be nice!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    MartinsReef likes this.
  9. JoshHill83

    JoshHill83 Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

    I would think that if it was easy and profitable then more stores would be open. It seems like a high overhead, high risk, low margin business unless you run a very large scale operation. I am thankful for the local businesses that I support and that support me.
    halmus and rjl45 like this.
  10. scchase

    scchase Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. B.O.D. Member-at-Large

    I agree completely, I have thought of opening a LFS for years but the only that will ever happen is if I win the lotto and can write off my losses every year.
  11. rjl45

    rjl45 Copepod

    Most people don't realize how expensive it is to run a retail shop. Basic shop in strip mall location costs a minimum of $500/day to open the doors. (pays for labor, rent, utilities, insurance, taxes, etc) now consider profit margins on fish and coral are less than 50%, (unless it is grown in-house) and more likely around 10-20%. This means a store needs to have daily receipts around $1500-$3000 every day to break even. Yes! Break even... meaning not making money. (would you work all day to make $0?) They need to double those sales to be kind-of profitable, but in reality need 3-4 times to make a comfortable living. This is why most shops run maintenance services and other accounts to keep afloat.

    I wish we had more shops, but we do have some great shops here in town. I do what I can to support them because it is a very tough business with a lot of hard work and very little profit. They do a great job providing Denver to with a decent variety and I have always found that they will be willing to order and help acquire nearly anything you could want. Just takes a little time.

    Want more variety, ask them and then support those shops by buying from them. Cheers!

    Sent from my LG-D850 using Tapatalk
    JoshHill83 likes this.
  12. Texco

    Texco Copepod

    I agree with wanting more from current LFS's or new ones altogether, but the positive I think is it promotes a stronger reliance on aquaculturing among fellow hobbyist at least from a coral perspective in my experience. The best and most unique corals in my tank all came as frags from members or friends and I can remember where they all came from, now I just need a tank the size of a swimming pool to fit all the corals I like....
    aztecdreams likes this.
  13. Catfish Charlie

    Catfish Charlie Amphipod

    Many of you on MASC don't know me, but I was in the "fish business" here in Colorado for nearly 30 years. I opened my shop (Catfish Charlie's) here in Colorado in April, 1983 and at the time there was about 80 shops in the Denver Metro area and 4 wholesalers. Most were only freshwater shops with just a few careering saltwater. I opened my shop because as a hobbyist I was into the rare and unusual fish and inverts and could NOT find them. My original shop in 1983 was 120 display tanks with 12 being saltwater, but my shop grew so fast by 1986 I'd expanded to 317 display tanks with 60 being saltwater and employed 14 to 16 employees. We were the largest in Colorado and maybe one of the largest in the nation. Now my shop has 3200 sq. ft. My retail rent space was about 6 per sq. ft. so about $19,200.00 each year rent. My electric bill ran about $500.00 per month so $6,000.00 per year. With labor cost and other "over head" I needed at that time $1000.00 per day or $365,000.00 per year to "break even". That was not a problem at the time. My average daily sales was about $2000.00 almost $750,000 each year! In was bringing in most all my freshwater fish directly and had two people in Los Angeles "cherry picking" all my saltwater "stuff" from all the distributers in the LA region. I brought in all my Caribbean "stuff" direct from the collectors. I started selling wholesale in 1985 to the local "Ma & Pa" shops in the Denver Metro area which grew into a wholesale business selling to seven or eight states in the Rocky Mountain Region. I was doing VERY GOOD. But in 1993 I was diagnosed with a kidney disease and was told by the doctors I had to "relieve" some of my stress. I was working 80 hours a week! So I sold the retail shop, Catfish Charlie's and went full wholesale. About the time I sold Catfish Charlie's "thing's" begun to change in the area. Internet was becoming more popular. PetSmart and Petco were beginning to open around the area with there big "box stores"! With there size they were able to buy direct from many of the manufactures. So generally they marked there prices near or slightly above wholesale price which the small "Ma & Pa" shops had no way to begin to compete on pricing. Also all the Denver Metro wholesalers that sold "pet supplies" all closed too! I closed my wholesale fish business in 2004. This cause a huge amount of the shops in Denver Metro area to go out of business and around the nation. Now with many of the small "Ma & Pa" shops gone the manufactures realized that there sales now were also dropping! So a few years ago several manufactures reached out to help these shops (Hagen I believe was first) and begun offering much lower prices to smaller shops. Now the problem is retail space and even wholesale space here in the Denver Metro area has sky rocketed, mostly due to the new marijuana law! Most retail space in the Denver Metro area runs between $20 to $30 per square foot! Utility bills have also increased so has labor making it extremely difficult to open a new business from scratch and try to compete with now a much lower profit margin to compete with internet and the large "box stores". I did reopen my retail shop in 2011, but a much smaller version of the original Catfish Charlie's. We were doing very well, but I was able to negotiate a very good rate for retail space. Plus my reputation from the past also help me "spring board" my business. Even though it was doing very well and making money. My business partner that was suppose to help me run the business had to go back to his home country of Chile, because his wife hated living here in. So it left me back to 80 hours a week and my health detreating rapidly I had to close the shop! I know this is a lot of "stuff" and hopefully it helps to maybe understand why so few shops are in the Denver Metro area. I'm now retired and enjoying fly-fishing and my wildlife photography. I truly do miss being in the fish business. I "tried" managing a couple of "fish shops" here in the Denver area. One ripped me off by steeling from me and not paying wages. The other shop had MAJOR issues killing more fish than the sold and not wanting to correct his problems. That's another thing I'll add. Just because you THINK you're very good with fish and inverts as a hobbyist. That will NOT make you good a this business commercially! Hobbyist and commercial are TWO different worlds and I know both sides. I've been a hobbyist for over 50 years in BOTH freshwater AND saltwater! I was in retail fish over 30 years and wholesale over 20 years. I'd still love to work part time with fish! But in my opinion there is ONLY a couple of shops in the Denver Metro area I'd even consider!
    Irishman likes this.
  14. damontoy

    damontoy Amphipod M.A.S.C Club Member

    Thanks for sharing your story. Makes a lot of sense.
  15. timnem70

    timnem70 Amphipod

    That's what forums like this are 4. Somebody within 45 minutes, or a couple days is bought from like BRS(unless you live in like Breckenridge) has anything you could ever want. Most times(although I like having one available for emergencies or whatever is nice). Privateers don't usually have the overhead and you almost always know they are tank raised specimens and don't they reuire they don't require the amount of quarantine ;in general.
    It is fun browsing thought I must admit. It gets you outta the house viewing beautiful things. What a great hobby we have.

    Sent from my VS985 4G using Tapatalk
    damontoy likes this.
  16. timnem70

    timnem70 Amphipod

  17. jda123

    jda123 Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    Does anybody on here fully support the LFS that are around? If there is one person on here who has never bought online for a better price, I would be shocked. If the LFS is just there for your fancy and whimsical needs, who would open a shop with this current generation of hobbyists? ...nobody with enough business sense to make a go of it and make it stick.
  18. reefkoi

    reefkoi Barracuda Platinum Sponsor M.A.S.C Club Member

    It's gone from lfs to big box store to garage/basement vendors to Facebook sales from hobbyists now. Quite a change since I started back in about 1993ish and we didn't even have a computer yet lol it is just what was predicted years ago that we'd see the small stores close and only the big ones win, in the end Amazon could take away almost all but the biggest online/retail stores. I always wondered why lfs never capitolized on the web, wwc in Orlando Florida is the ultimate lfs model they do it all, frag swaps lfs and online and seem to be growing very well because of it.
  19. StoneAquatics

    StoneAquatics Copepod

    You should come down to the new location of Stone Aquatics, I moved the store into my warehouse and with the expansions I am doing I have the best selection of fish in town. Common fish and rare fish are in stock at great prices, plus we have most coral flats of any store to choose from. We are setting up a giant invert system to stock clean up crews. Plus we do stock aquariums of all sizes. We are authorized retailers of Neptune system, Scotch, and CoralVue products, so those items are in stock. We are now offering Red Sea Salt, Fritz salt, Salinity and Tropic Marin salt. Plus plumbing parts are in stock.

    Our new address is :
    Stone Aquatics
    Great White Bottling, Inc.
    6950 W Jefferson Ave suite 200
    Lakewood, CO 80235

    Our hours are:
    Monday 9-4
    Tuesday 9-4
    Wednesday 9-7
    Thursday 9-7
    Friday 9-7
    Saturday 10-7
    Sunday 12-5
    damontoy likes this.
  20. Mav

    Mav Sardine M.A.S.C Club Member

    I must say I went down there last week and even though they are still in the middle of setting up I was very impressed. With the wealth of knowledge these gentlemen possess as well as the amount of equipment, tanks, livestock etc. it is well worth a visit.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share This Page