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Never catches on

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

  1. damontoy

    damontoy Amphipod M.A.S.C Club Member

    I have always liked Stone Aquatics.
  2. rmougey

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

    This discussion has been going on for many years and will most likely continue until we are regulated out of our hobby one day.

    There are good LFS and sadly, some not so good LFS. If your main criteria is price, you are most likely part of the problem we are facing in the hobby today. It's a race to the bottom for certain suppliers, and Hell or High Water, you'll drive another 30 minutes to save $5 on a $50 fish. We have stores that care about their livestock, medicate and dip, while cultivating and coaxing them into a healthy state. They buy using short supply chains, attempting to avoid animals that were not collected sustainably (for which they must often rely on their suppliers) and whenever possible, they source captive bred or maricultured animals. Great!

    Once these animals arrive at the LFS they must be fed, housed properly, often times medicated and kept in clean, not overcrowded, low stress environments. Overcrowding, cloudy water, obviously diseased fish that aren't being treated and lack of attention to husbandry are good things to avoid when selecting an LFS. All LFS loose animals, just as we do in the hobby. However losses should be few and infrequent,assuming no issues with shipping or a bad supplier. Fish and corals don't do well when sitting on the tarmac for 24 hours, having missed their connecting flight.

    Is a Flame Angel a Flame Angel? Why does one store sell it for $50 while another prices it $85? Where did it come from? Hawaii, Marshall Islands, CXI, Cebu, Tahiti or was it captive bred? Location, location, location... just as in real estate, pricing is also driven by where the animal originated. Which wholesaler sourced the fish? What are their handling procedures? Do they churn and burn or do they allow the animals to rest before shipping? How long was the supply chain before it arrived on 104th in LA? Once it's in the hands of the LFS, is it QT'd? Is there prophylaxis and careful observation before it's sold to you? Or... are you buying out of a bag? Oh wait, you bought a captive bred Flame Angel... well that's going to be $150 please.

    Now that I've invested all this time into an animal that is fairly sensitive, I have to make a profit if I want to pay my store expenses and feed my family. What is an acceptable margin based on the overhead and stock that I must carry? If it's enough, I'll stay in business. If I price myself too low, or suffer large losses, or sell poor animals... eventually it's going to effect my business. Of course, if I do everything right, I still could fail due to economic issues or other items out of my control. There are a few stores that have been around for a long time here in Colorado, but they are few and far between. Those that have survived the longest have learned that in the race to the bottom, everyone loses.

    The Colorado landscape is littered with failed and closed LFS. It requires hard work, knowledge, dedication, good supply chains and a bit of luck to succeed. A decade ago we (the collective Colorado hobbyist 'we') were discussing stores that have long since left us. Glancing at the list, I bet we could add another dozen stores. Take a peek: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showth...&highlight=lfs

    And yes, the retail model has changed. The Internet and specifically Amazon have opened up the opportunities to shop from my favorite arm chair. There are many on-line vendors selling animals at various price points. Some have better track records than others... the problem of course is that a bad Internet store can run for much longer than a poor LFS. If my Internet store develops a really bad reputation, I'll just change the name and create a new website. The internet based store has very different margins and a much larger retail ecosphere. When you buy on-line, is there a Contact Us page where humans will answer the phone and or e-mails? Do you have any idea who these folks are or where they are located? That discussion has been had several times as well on this forum, here from 6 years ago: http://www.marinecolorado.org/forum/...deration-again

    Retail is a hard business, retailing live goods is even more difficult. So what can you do? Educate yourself. Buy from quality establishments and avoid those that cut corners or treat their charges poorly. Stop chasing the lowest cost fish or coral and start buying the healthiest and best cared for animal that was sustainably collected or captive bred. Get involved in the hobby and support organizations that educate and promote, as well as defend the hobby we all enjoy. Join and/or support MASNA, PIJAC, OFI, MASC, SCMAS, CAS among others. If you don't know who those organizations are then educate yourself about the forces driving the hobby, as well as those looking to curtail the hobby.

    Spend your dollars wisely.... and stop buying on price alone. No one wins.
    maxthedog2000 and SkyShark like this.
  3. scchase

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

    I was thinking about a portion of this myself the past couple days, namely the stores that have come and gone versus the ones that have made it. The odd thing is I have not been able to figure out any rhyme or reason whatsoever on what make a store last versus ones that come and go. There are poor LFS that are still in business and have been around for decades, meanwhile I have seen state fo the art LFS come and go like crazy and vice versa. I have seen stores with low prices points both survice and thrive despite the high losses they seem to maintain and others go belly up faster than a goldfish in a Pepsi. I imagine a lot of it has to do with the backside of how the store is financed and whether they are able to make it the first five years or so but still crazy to think about.
    FishTV likes this.
  4. scchase

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

    Just read through the old reefcentral thread and wow that brings back some memories. Even put a name to half a dozen that I remember but couldn't remember the names for.
  5. rmougey

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

    A bad LFS can still be run by a good business person, while a great LFS could be run by someone with poor business skills. Typically failures come down to capital, or lack thereof. High tech stores typically over spend on the front end, and can't sustain the cash flow necessary to stay afloat. How long can I weather the storm of losses till I decide to hang up my net? Don't mistake competitive pricing with poor husbandry. It's possible, but it requires very good money management skills. That or a rich uncle. :)

    Most failures are due to the behind the scenes problems, most often directly related to lack of capital. 5 years is the magic number... if you make it to 5, you stand better odds of continuing. Many many stores have not been able to achieve that milestone.
    hooked likes this.
  6. jda123

    jda123 Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    BTW - you all should not complain. There is only one store in all of Kansas City (with 2.1 million people) that is as good as ANY ONE of the ones in Boulder, Greeley or Fort Collins.

    Ron is right... too many people think only about the price. You cannot afford to be cheap in this hobby - this can hurt you as much as not knowing that you don't have enough time to be in a hurry. I don't want to be some old doucher (and I am not even that old), but the biocube generation and newer (the BRS generation) are all about price and potential rather than quality and track record. If I opened a LFS, it would stock quality dry goods with a long track record of success and caribbean and pacfic fish and inverts from the source. I would be out of business in less than a year because the larger majority would not want to pay the price for quality and the ones that did would not need stuff as often. (BTW - the flame angel example is priceless... do you buy a quality animal that was net caught from Marshall or Cook Island and imported from somebody with integrity like RT, or save a few bucks and get one possibly caught with cyanide from further west and perhaps kept on a freighter for weeks without food or shelter... most people have no idea of the difference or what he is talking about because BRS has not had a video about it).

    Lastly, the LFS is makes a ton of money on the new entrant - the one that will be out of the hobby in a year or so. I have not needed lights, return pump, flow pumps or fish in years. That does not keep a LFS in business since I buy quality in the beginning and don't kill much stuff but the new hobbyist will buy a whole new setup and livestock and kill some stuff along the way.

    I have always had a theory that pet stores in general do better in College towns. There are a crop of young adults who always wanted a reef tank or iguana and now they have their own places...

    Ok, now lastly... I am amazed that so few stores around here buy from direct from RT where the fish are kept at reef salinity (huge deal) and always have less stress than coming from LA.
    SkyShark likes this.
  7. reefkoi

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

    Is stone aquatics no longer selling corals and fish? I’ve heard rumors but nothing official.
  8. reefkoi

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

    Rob you got it nailed on the head for sure. The ultimate deal would be a 20 year hobbyist with great diy skills as well as a 2 year degree in business management, a family of 5 kids all 18+ and ready to work, and a rich uncle that passed and left him a 7 figure inheritance right?!?!!

    hooked and Legonch like this.
  9. zombie

    zombie Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    They closed their doors just before Reef ED

    Sent from my SM-G965U using MASC mobile app
  10. timnem70

    timnem70 Amphipod

    Zombie. No, they did not. Why always stating as fact stuff that is inaccurate man? They are open. I just got Water, a new Wrasse and some food yesterday. They did shut down a lot of their tanks though and have cleared out most of their retail stock but say they are continuing to sell "specialized" fish and corals. Think, after all this time, you just like to be the "Debbie Downer" or "Expert" at eveythong and contradict reality. Its alright to have different opinions, however, stating as fact, things that are wrong in every way is getting old.

    Sent from my LG-LS997 using Tapatalk
    Haddonisreef and Dr.DiSilicate like this.
  11. timnem70

    timnem70 Amphipod

    Also. Think the catalyst or straw that BTCB may have been a devestating infection that wiped out tons of stock/fish for them in April.

    Sent from my LG-LS997 using Tapatalk
  12. timnem70

    timnem70 Amphipod

    Weird hours too so call ahead. Think I saw 9-3 in weekdays so...

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  13. zombie

    zombie Tuna M.A.S.C Club Member

    There is no need to be an @ss because I missed the word of mouth memo that they changed their minds. Their original post stated that their retail store was closing and they were only continuing ICP testing. Their Facebook page also stated their store is closing its doors. Obviously no apex help for you then.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using MASC mobile app
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
  14. SynDen

    SynDen Shark Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C President M.A.S.C Webmaster

    Let's keep it on topic, and civil please.
    As far as stone being open, that's news to us all. Last I had heard was they were just icp and maintenance accounts. If they are open they haven't made it public knowledge, likely because they can't seem to make up their minds

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using MASC mobile app
  15. timnem70

    timnem70 Amphipod

    Yeah you're probably right. Most tanks other than large ones were dry. And, They did have a Lady that works in whatever else they do at that warehouse, doing dual duty and if I had been there to get livestock I'd have been SOOL so... But yes, they are for now. I can understand the confusion and have been called worse by better so theres that.
    No word of mouth or special treatment. I just called and asked.

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