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talk to the frog / General / My own store
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daystorm
Member
412 posts
412 posts

# Posted: 17 Feb 2009 03:06


Well, I'm just so busy lately with my business class. The reason I'm taking one is that I want to open my own reptile store here in Sudbury. THere is a need, as petsmart doesn't sell healthy animals and most... all of the other places don't really know how to care for their animals, let alone tell people how to care for them.

I'm excited! It won't be till next summer, but this is really getting the ball rolling and I'm getting a business plan written out. I was simply wondering if anybody had any advice?


White's tree frog: 2:0:0
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Sheri
Member
1433 posts
1433 posts

# Posted: 17 Feb 2009 03:12


No advice but wanted to wish you the best of luck! This would be a dream job/career for me.


**SHERI**
otis07
Member
151 posts
151 posts

# Posted: 17 Feb 2009 03:59


My advise
Have a knowledgeable staff
Don't sell iguanas
Have a website, even if you don't sell animals on it, just for info/contact stuff
I work at a reptile store over the summer and they also do shows, and they make a lot of their money doing this vs. sales in the store. I would suggest getting some larger/show animals if you plan on doing shows.


http://www.freewebs.com/kapoktree/

D. imitator, D. lamasi, D. tinctorius, D. leucomelas, D. auratus, M. viridis, M. ebenaui, D. ebrecatta, T. corticale, L. caerulea, H. madagascareinsis, B. orientalis, B. americanis, R. catesbeiana, lots of geckos
EMWhite
Member
131 posts
131 posts

# Posted: 17 Feb 2009 04:11


My advice would be to visit as many reptile-type stores as you can, or just as many non-chain pet shops as you can. Make notes about what you like, don't like, would like to do, would like to avoid etc.

You're also going to want to have some kind of a vet contact, meaning, a vet who will work with you and provide meds etc at low prices. When dealing with large amounts of animals, you're going to need to have some sort of connection. Sometimes store owners can actually get a deal going with the local herp vet that allows benefits for both parties. Say for instance, you give a coupon for a vet visit away with every animal for that vet, and, in turn, they provide you with medical assistance/meds for free or greatly reduced price.

You will also want to establish a healthy net of suppliers. That is easy enough to do, google search reptile wholesalers and you should be able to find people who will sell to you. Plan on ordering in quantity too. Not just 1 or two of something, you will want to try and get no less than 6 on most things. This is because there WILL BE losses and the more animals you've got, the more you can spread the costs around and still manage to make something. Sounds silly, but trust me.....

To be honest, I would say, if you can, get a job, or volunteer or in some way to get hands on experience working at a shop that resembles what you might want yours to be. Nothing, when it comes to animals, is more valuable than hands on experience. Nothing. It is how you develop the kind knowledge that will make you an asset to your customers.

You are also going to want to have your feeder suppliers in line before you even plan on selling animals... Crickets, mice, rats etc etc. They are going to keep you in business before the animals sales takes off. You'll have people coming in every week for this or that which is basically foot traffic=a gift.

You also need to find suppliers for things like dry goods (canned foods, bedding etc) as well as tanks and other equipment. Be warned, many of the top brands will not sell to mom-and-pop shops. All Glass for example, who make the best aquariums on the market reserve sales for Petcos etc. Brands like Zoomed, R-Zilla, Flukers, Exo Terra etc will generally not sell directly to shops. You'll have to contact them, and they will point you in the direction of a sales representative who will work with you to get the items you want.

However, many wholesale companies have hefty minimum orders, and very few if any sell only reptile products. You'll also probably have to have more than one of those to carry full lines of products. ie. some only sell zoomed, or flukers... Etc. You don't want to limit yourself to one company.

This is all just beginning stuff, aside from all the financial concerns. It'll be rough at first, but, if you sell quality animals, have a good staff, and provide the best service you can, chances are you'll develop a loyal customer base.



Good luck!!!
Evan


"Possibility is happiness"
TRIXIEthePACMANfrog
Member
88 posts
88 posts

# Posted: 17 Feb 2009 04:54


That is awesome. A reptile store for consumer by a consumer. That is awesome! No one is more experienced than keepers. Best of luck.

-Ryan


Currently Housing:
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sschind
Member
198 posts
198 posts

# Posted: 17 Feb 2009 15:02


First thing I would ask is what is the population of Sudbury? Within 15 minutes? a half hour? up to an hour? Reptile people tend to know other reptile people so the need appears to be there but is it really? A reptile only store is very difficult to pull off.

As far as dry goods, yes you will have to develope a network. Most manufactures do not sell direct to the stores. All Glass (now Aqueon) does sell to mom and pop store through distributors. If your local stores don't carry the brand its probably because perfecto or some other brand is cheaper or maybe there is no distributor close by that they use. Hagen (exo-terra) sells only manufacturer direct. Some distributors may carry some of the line but most wholesalers dropped the line when they (hagen) went the direct route. The reptology line (pen plaxx) also sells direct but there are more distributors who still carry their lines. Zoo med, Zilla, Flukers are all distributed through wholesalers, generally they will not sell direct to the stores. Most minimums run around $400.00 and it can be a problem getting it if all you are looking for is reptile products. That is unless you are selling a lot more product than any of the pet store owners I know of right now.

As far as not selling iguanas, well, I agree and I disagree. If you are going to sell burms and sulcatas and nile monitors you might as well sell iguanas. Non of them make appropriate pets for 90% of the people who are going to want to buy them. between these 4 animals I could probably sell at least 2 a month if I wanted to. But to simply say "don't sell iguanas" is a little short sighted when there are many many other animals that make even less appropriate pets than iguanas. Heck, you can probably add 75% of the WC stuff to that if you want to consider survival rates.

I don't want to burst your bubble and If you are determined I wish you luck but I will tell you this, It will not be easy. Unless you have a huge population to support you a specialty store won't cut it. Keep in mind that there is probably a reason no one has done it before. Also keep in mind that since there is nothing like that in the area people have figured out other ways of getting their herp fix. Mostly the internet, these habit will be hard to change, especially when the online retailers are selling supplies and animals for almost as cheap as you have to pay for them. The animals are not always an issue because of shipping charges, but dry goods, forget it. You won't be able to compete on most of them. You certainly won't be able to price match them and expect to stay in business.

I see you are in Canada so I don't know if the distribution laws and systems are the same as they are here in the states so some of my comments may not be accurate to your situation.


Steve Schindler
FwoGiZ
Member
1392 posts
1392 posts

# Posted: 17 Feb 2009 16:12


I will probably do that too when I retire from the army ;) I ll have a bigger collection then, and lotso $$$ to open up


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I've had this spring peeper for over 4 years..!
daystorm
Member
412 posts
412 posts

# Posted: 17 Feb 2009 17:03


Ok, thanks for the input. I don't have any illusions that it will be easy, but a small store that sells items that others don't sell year round would be an asset to the sudbury area. We had our first expo here not too long ago and the turnout was great. The vendors were amazed with the amount of people walking out with reptiles and amphibians. Even the one vendor who was selling bugs did very nicely.

Did you know that in Sudbury, the only bugs available in winter are crickets? The retailers don't bother because of the cold and don't find it worthwhile to use a few extra precautions in order to offer these in the winter. Did you know that there is only one place to get fruit flies from in Sudbury? And that in order to do so, you have to order them... the cost between getting the flies and shipping them equals 26 or more dollars. Outrageous for one culture container!
Never mind that our science center orders out bugs and has to pick them up at the airport... a 45min to one hour drive one way from where they are situated.

I don't plan on selling a huge number of herps in my store, it will mostly be for supplies.

Aside from petsmart, pet value carries reptiles, they don't even have terrariums available, simply aquariums and critter keepers. And I"m sure they don't give out the best advice...

Ok, I'm ranting here. I think I have found a little niche, and since everyone I've spoken to that owns reptiles has said.. I thought of that but... well, I think there could be a need. Especially for feeder insects. Affordable feeder insects.


White's tree frog: 2:0:0
Budgie: 0:1:0
Parrotlet 2:0:0
Biewer yorkie 1:0:0
Crested gecko 2:1:0
Reed frog 1:1:0
MonkeyFrogMan28
Member
811 posts
811 posts

# Posted: 17 Feb 2009 18:01


sudbury is where?


too much too handle
daystorm
Member
412 posts
412 posts

# Posted: 17 Feb 2009 18:36


In Ontario


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Budgie: 0:1:0
Parrotlet 2:0:0
Biewer yorkie 1:0:0
Crested gecko 2:1:0
Reed frog 1:1:0
Michelle Houseman
Member
3539 posts
3539 posts

# Posted: 17 Feb 2009 19:18


Congrats! Make sure that your inventory is up to date and that you don't overstock or understock. That can bite you in the butt everytime! Have some plants that are ready to go straight in tanks, ect.


Why kiss a frog to turn into a Prince, when you can kiss a Prince to turn into a frog! ?
sschind
Member
198 posts
198 posts

# Posted: 17 Feb 2009 21:22


Establishing a good source of feeder insects could be just the niche you are looking for. Culturing the fruit flies is easy and not that expensive. Roaches are easy. Mealworms and superworms are relatively easy. I've just seen a few cultures of Bean Beetles at the last swap I was at, so yeah that might be your hook.


Steve Schindler
otis07
Member
151 posts
151 posts

# Posted: 17 Feb 2009 22:42


Daystorm, I culture fruit flies (just melano's) so if you are interested and have not cultured before I would be glad to ship you some cultures to get you started.


http://www.freewebs.com/kapoktree/

D. imitator, D. lamasi, D. tinctorius, D. leucomelas, D. auratus, M. viridis, M. ebenaui, D. ebrecatta, T. corticale, L. caerulea, H. madagascareinsis, B. orientalis, B. americanis, R. catesbeiana, lots of geckos
toad lover
Member
180 posts
180 posts

# Posted: 18 Feb 2009 00:29 · Edited by: toad lover


my edvise is to get it really humid and add alot od ficus and other small trees like i did at my store, but at mine we have a 8 foot alligator and a herd of red footed tortoises that rome (one, carl, i have had sense i was a kid)(alligator, herry, dosent rome)


toad lover
MonkeyFrogMan28
Member
811 posts
811 posts

# Posted: 18 Feb 2009 00:50


toad lover, thats a relief your alligator doesnt rome free. haha

I wish i had a pet alligator.


too much too handle
nu2frogs
Member
760 posts
760 posts

# Posted: 18 Feb 2009 00:58


Starting a business can be very exciting but a sober look should be taken at all times. Preparing a feasibility study and a visit to the local chamber of commerce will go a long way in fending off a lot of heartache and financial woes. Knowing how much traffic is to be expected in store and how much in initial capital and monthly overhead is needed will give you a better grasp of what to expect financially.


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daystorm
Member
412 posts
412 posts

# Posted: 18 Feb 2009 16:49


Otis: I don't know if you've seen my "signature" but I do own darts, and have cultured flies for over two years. lol besides, I'm not paying cites permits to get flies shipped from the states (if infact that is where you are!)

Thanks you though

nu2frogs: it's always good to look at things like that. I'm taking some courses to see if I'd actually be into running a business, it really isn't for everybody! Thanks for the advice!

And no... no free roaming alligators. I just don't think I"ll have enough space!


White's tree frog: 2:0:0
Budgie: 0:1:0
Parrotlet 2:0:0
Biewer yorkie 1:0:0
Crested gecko 2:1:0
Reed frog 1:1:0
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