Amphibian store in ohio...

C

chris

Guest
hey everyone. i love animals and lately i've been pondering the fact of opening my own "mom and pop" style amphibian store here in cincinnati. now don't everyone flip out. i wanna open a small store with around 20 to 30 aqauriums in the range or 30 to 50 gallon with different species of frogs/newt/sals and various products such as hard to find food and plants and other tank materials we hobbyists use. no one has even touched the market in cincy but i wanna do it and do it right. i plan one educating my customers on proper animal care and against stupid stuff like multiple specie housing and 5 gallon tanks with 23 newts.
but i have a few questions....

1. i tried a lil searching on legality on sale of amphibians in ohio but can't find any.

2. i wanna sell CB so it's fair to the customers and the animals but don't know where to resource the animals from.

i'm not looking to make big bucks just an honest living and cater to those of use in this hobby. i got a lot of friends that come over and see my newts and they would love to have one or two as pets. also what i have in stock would be pretty much what i would sell. i might have 10 species one month and 15 totally different ones next month. i would also like to breed some in the store with smaller tanks in the back and raise them til they are juvies. what's everyones opinions on this and do you guys thing an idea like this would work?
 
A

abrahm

Guest
I hate to rain on your parade, because I love the idea and I dream about it myself, but I don't think your pet store will succeed.

Most small business fail as a matter of course. If you wanted to run such a business you would first need to research relevant laws on owning a business, taxes, and I think you need USDA certification to have animals.

Also, this is a niche hobby. There are not a lot of us. Factor in low sales with high overhead and start up cost (culturing/buying food animals, aquaria, substrate, initial stock, lighting, heating/cooling, etc) and you don't have a formula with profit. Most breeders don't make a profit, but barely break even. You would have to sell a lot of high profit supplies to make selling the animals worthwhile.

You'll also have to deal with a lot of people who will want to buy two Red eyed tree frogs and stick them in with marbled newts and firebelly toads in a ten gallon. You're going to have to alienate customers in the name of the animals care. Building up a good clientèle will be difficult as many people buy online. You won't be able to match those kinds of prices.

I'm no business expert, I may be wrong, but I think pulling this off will be extremely difficult.
 
J

john

Guest
I think you'd be much better off running a virtual store for this than a brick and mortar store. IF you can succeed with the much lower overhead of an online store then in about 4-5 years you can consider a brick and mortar counterpart to the online business.


On the legal question, a quick Yahoo search yielded this:
http://www.dnr.ohio.gov/wildlife/PDF/pub03.pdf

Just my opinion, but I would recommend breeding the species you already have and selling them online. You might make enough to offset your feed supply costs.
 
N

nicole

Guest
Congratulations! If this is something you really want to do then you can do it! My suggestion would be to take some business classes and go to your city hall to find out what licences and permits you'll need. Maybe you can build a relationship with one of the business professors who can steer you in the right direction as to finding out what is legal to sell in Ohio.

If you are really serious about this then a little hard work shouldn't get in your way.

As for alienating customers, I wouldn't worry about it. My favorite pet stores are always the ones who are straight with me. When I come up with what I think is a great idea and run it by them, they tell me like it is. I respect them and I'm their best customer because of it. I know I can trust them and if your customers really care about their animals, they'll feel the same way. If they don't come back, then you'll know they aren't serious enough to be pet owners and you'll sleep better for it.

Go for it if you really want to!
 
F

foster

Guest
Chris,
I used to manage a mom and pop petstore years ago and I'll have to say that I pretty much agree with what has already been said. It is a tough business, especially if there are superstores in the area. As has already been stated, most of your newbie customers (especially kids) are not going to want to hear that you can't mix fiddler crabs with newts and so on so they are going to go to those other places that tell them what they want to hear. Most of the more knowledgeable customers may purchase some items (crickets for example) however they will often order most of their dry goods online because it is so much cheaper - and dry good sales are generally the life of a petstore, not livestock. Also, you should probably consider at least carrying other herps and/or tropical fish as well. As Abraham said this is a specialized interest and there are not that many of us out there. I am certainly not trying to discourage you but you should do some more research and think seriously about this because you could stand to lose a lot of money. With all of that said I would love to have the opportunity to visit an amphibian only store sometime.
Chip
 
J

john

Guest
I think you could definitely pursue an online venture and be somewhat successful with it. That's the way of business these days anyway.
 

Jasonnau

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I have seen lots of people running businesses like this from their homes. I live in Cincinnati and I'm mixed up in gcas, cincyreef, and Caudata. I have been to a lot of homes where people specialize in certain things. I would recommend that route first being that you are so specialized. If you broaden into more exotics them I think you have a good shot. We need exotics shops here. The chain stores have equipment but lack entirely in Livestock. The first pet shop I went into as a kid had two squirrel monkeys. I ended up working there as my first job because I loved going in to see the exotic animals. 30 years later that store is just as busy as ever.
 
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