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How copuld an aquarium store make more money?

In 2004 I invested $10,000 in a new business, a pet store that specializes in aquariums & fish. At the time, there 3 partners, with $10,000 from each of us. We bought out a partner in 2006. We have 1,380 gallons of freshwater fish on display. That's 12) 37's, 24) 29's and 12) 20 longs. Our saltwater display is 2) 45's, 4) 38's for a total of only 242 gallons. We sell plenty of equipment (about a 15% mark-up) and fish (about 30-40% mark-up) and do a fair amount of service (about 50% profit), but it isn't making us a living. I work another job & my store part time. Last week, instead of taking money for pay, I took our 72 gallon bow front on pine stand with hood. That's about $500 retail. It was on display for nearly a year with no takers, even at cost (about $425). I told my partner we can't sit on items like this anymore. We sell perhaps 15 tanks a week, mostly 10-29 gallons. We sell a variety of fish, not just cheap/small ones. How do we take it to the "next level"? Thanks.

Asked By: Mrs. Tammy Knows Better - 5/11/2008
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
You have gotten many good tips, but I will throw in my 2 cents here... More
Answered By: Carl S - 5/11/2008
Additional Answers (8)
Ask your customers what they'd like to see. Maybe a lot of them would like to see a certain brand of fish food that you aren't carrying yet. Also consider carrying more fish tank ornamentation? I'd think that that would be lucrative because people like to change what their tanks look like every so often and those tank... More
Answered By: robinchen2k - 5/11/2008
 
That tank that you have is a good size for breeding discus or angelfish. These are good fish to breed and sell or I am sure that you know which fish are good sellers in your area. You might wish to consider live plants and/or even invertebrates such as shrimp and crawfish.
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Answered By: dreammaker2623 - 5/11/2008
 
advertise good reviews. i think its all about credibility, if people know that your giving reliable/good quality supply/fish, everything will just fall in place. hire people who actually have interest in fish and actually knows products. its all about good customer service... More
Answered By: ........ - 5/11/2008
 
It's very difficult to compete with the big box stores and the Internet these days... More
Answered By: jerry b - 5/11/2008
 
I give you credit for hanging in this long and as someone else indicated, you are competing with chain stores. Your mark ups actually seem fairly low and that may be part of the reason your bottom line profit margins aren't where you'd like them to be. Being a business major at Colorado Tech, I'll give you some... More
Answered By: Jon V - 5/11/2008
 
make sure that you are advertising enough get your store in the paper online flyers coupons in the sunday paper idk anything to get people to notice
Answered By: Erin C - 5/11/2008
 
If you don't already sell start selling Flowerhorn and Red Texas Cichlids. Not all the Fish stores sell them daily and once they get them in they don't last. If not that you could invest in doing a commercial or have some specials ( buy three freshwater fish get the third free) and advertise them. If that doesn't work... More
Answered By: boss man m - 5/11/2008
 
I`m not sure where you live....but a 15% mark up is awefully low. check local pet stores and stores in neighboring towns to see what they sell for and adjust pricing accordingly. also....here in calgary , the stores that do the best all seem to specialize in something. the one I deal with the most doesnt use valuable... More
Answered By: bikeguy33 - 5/11/2008
 
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