Adventures with Corndog: Corndog's Fish Store

Corndog

Lord Nagafen Raider
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So I've been retail location hunting for probably 6 months. I've got it narrowed down to 2 that I could sign on this week. They are vastly different but both seem viable?

The locations are for a fish only retail store as in aquarium fish.

Location one: Dog Mecca
This place has 6 Dog/Cat related businesses in the same shopping center:
1. Dog Groomer
2. Dog Groomer
3. Cat Groomer
4. Water therapy for Dogs
5. Doggie daycare
6. Doggie Diner

It also has 2 restaurants, 1 indian food restaurant and a american food restaurant. All the tenants are interdependent businesses. About 20 businesses in all here.

Specs:
910 sq ft
Asking Rent: $890 including NNN
1 year lease
Needs 1-1.5k in electrical work to do what I need it to do.
Always full parking lot. Averages 20 cars parking in the lot each hour.

Main draw is that there are already tons of pet people coming to this destination.

Location 2. Ghost Town. Other side of town.
This is a foreclosure property, that the landlord owns as of 2 weeks ago. No tenants are in there yet.
1150 Sqft
Asking Rent $600 including NNN
2 Months free rent.
3 Year lease with the option to renew at $750 for 3 more years. Also A clause that says I can walk away from the lease at any time.
Brand new tile floors.
All the electrical in the world
Car count 0. And could stay 0 for a couple years.

To take location 2, I'd have to be the marketing master as no one would accidently find me ever. Location 1, I would have passive customers find me. For $300 more a month. It also has much more to offer my customers than just my store.

Currently going in on Tuesday to negotiate Location one to see if I can get it down to $800 and 2 months free rent on a 2 year lease.

Anyone have any retail location advice?
 
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Shonuff

Mr. Poopybutthole
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Look at:

- drive by traffic
- view from road
- Target demographic

And it's clear that #1 is better.
 

Corndog

Lord Nagafen Raider
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11d 4h 1m
Yeah, that's been my decision so far. #2 is just luring me with the potential. #1 is more of a sure thing.
 

Lendarios

Trump's Staff
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i don't think people will drive to your place in #2 because you offer an unique product. Been close to the pet store area is a double edge sword. People with dogs may be more open to having fish as additional pets. However it is very easy for them to branch into your business.
I will go with number 1 and offer dog treats to customers, or make your store dog friendly, some sort of "bring your dog in, get a free fish", or free dog treats with a in store purchase
 

Tmac

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Yeah, that's been my decision so far. #2 is just luring me with the potential. #1 is more of a sure thing.
All signs point to #1. The only way I could see #2 being legitimate is if he let you have it for $400/month during the first year, which would allow you to put $400/month into advertising. Even then there's not guarantee that $400/month in advertising would draw as much foot traffic near your store.
 

opiate82

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Having dabble in being a fish enthusiast in the past, I know people who are into fish will go far and wide to find what they are looking for. I would drive a couple of hours to a hole-in-the-wall fish store if they had the blue tang fish I was looking for. So in that respect, you might be able to get away with the cheaper location.

On the flip side, using your 20 cars an hour, I have conservatively estimated that location #1 puts your store in front of about 6000 sets of eyes per month. You would have to turn $290 a month into at least 6000 impressions to make up the traffic difference. That is a small amount of advertising dollars to obtain that kind of reach.

If you were already established as the go-to store for fish enthusiasts you could probably get away location #2 because people would know of you and seek you out. Just getting your business started however, I would go with the more visible location.

Also this is probably marginal, but you will save a little bit on utilities at location #1 versus #2.
 

Cutlery

Kill All the White People
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#1 is the clear winner for starting your business. #2 would be the clear winner if you were the established leader in the market in town and fed up with your current location. Put up sign that says "See us at our new location at XXXX" and profit.

#1 all the way for your situation.
 

McCheese

SW: Sean, CW: Crone, GW: Wizardhawk
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I don't really have much to add, but I hope you continue to update us on your business as you progress. I was following your old FoH thread and I look forward to seeing how things turn out.
 

Shonuff

Mr. Poopybutthole
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11d 22h 19m
Opiate touched on this, but it's core to the decision.Is location important to specialty fish enthusiasts, or are they willing to go anywhere to a good specialty store?You might look at some of your competitors, and see what they are doing, location-wise. Also, you could research it on the internet.
 

Tmac

Adventurer
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Opiate touched on this, but it's core to the decision.Is location important to specialty fish enthusiasts, or are they willing to go anywhere to a good specialty store?You might look at some of your competitors, and see what they are doing, location-wise. Also, you could research it on the internet.
Was thinking the same thing. If most of your sales are generated through online (also yellow pages, etc) marketing, then how much is foot traffic really going to contribute to your business? How do your competitors do with foot traffic vs direct marketing?
 

Izuldan_sl

shitlord
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Good luck with everything, and as McCheese said, keep us posted, I remember your posts in the old FoH forum also, I believe I commented on some of them (regarding how much to pay for lease and cams).

#1 seems like the best choice also.
 

BrutulTM

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Having dabble in being a fish enthusiast in the past, I know people who are into fish will go far and wide to find what they are looking for. I would drive a couple of hours to a hole-in-the-wall fish store if they had the blue tang fish I was looking for. So in that respect, you might be able to get away with the cheaper location.
This is true, and I was the same way. In fact I used to buy cichlids from a place in San Jose that was in a warehouse next to a bunch of other warehouses and when you walked in all you saw was a filthy couch that usually had a couple nerds sitting on it and the guy's desk which was literally like 2 feet deep in papers. The aquariums were on industrial shelving behind a curtain.

That said, I don't really think that catering to specialty people is what the OP is looking for. Corndog could probably tell us what percentage of business comes from enthusiasts vs. people buying goldfish for their kids to kill.

$300 a month doesn't seem like a lot of money in the scope of things. I would definitely go for the better location.
 

Shonuff

Mr. Poopybutthole
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That said, I don't really think that catering to specialty people is what the OP is looking for. Corndog could probably tell us what percentage of business comes from enthusiasts vs. people buying goldfish for their kids to kill.
He's given us very little demographic data, and asked our opinion.
 

BrutulTM

Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun.
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Yeah I should have said "I don't know if" instead of "I don't think".
 

Corndog

Lord Nagafen Raider
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Wow, been busy searching the depths of the internet and calling in favors in the industry. Didn't realize this got this much attention!

I chose option #1. I got the keys today and negotiated, first contract hit my email a few hours ago, needs revisions as I want the door fixed and there is a leak outside in front of my store that should be addressed.

I think I did well considering the asking price was well below what the normal rent in that area is. I ended up getting $850 a month and $865 for the second year. With the concession that I got the rest of December free and 2 weeks in January Free. On top of that instead of first/last/deposit, I only had to put down the first 2 weeks plus deposit so $1250.

Hopefully by Friday my favor being called in will give me the sales data from the Petco that is 2 miles away. This can show me potential etc. Just useful.

As for demographics, I'm targeting the 28-50yr old working class family. I want my customer to go to work 8-5, come home and eat dinner and then go buy fish. Stop in each pay day etc. I plan to carry bread and butter stuff like neon tetras, rummynose tetras, clown loaches etc. But also carry lots of specialty things like african shelldwellers, a range of apistos, high end aquarium plants, high end guppies etc. I already have experience with these items as I sell them online already.

The place I chose has a high majority of working couples with 2 kids each with a median income of $66k a year.

Also yesterday I received an insurance quote. $560 a year. so basically $50 a month. I'll have an electrician in once I've signed the lease which should happen tomorrow or the next day. A plumber will be in to look the drains over briefly in the next few days as well.

In the end, no matter how I laid it out. Paying $300 a month for those extra walk in customers was too good to pass up. Not to mention the pet people get together for a monthly meeting on how to get more business. They also do at least 4 events a year like a dog Halloween costume show, pictures with Santa etc. I'm hoping that with me being the 8th(realized there was actually another dog therapy place) we can share some of the expense of advertising etc.

Tomorrow the plan is to get my light up signs in the window, put up brown paper so no one can see in. Use masking tap to layout a floor plan of a counter/cash register station, racks of tanks etc. Also take down one interior wall. I also found paint in a cabinet to do touch ups. The walls were already this light bluish green color you'd find in someone's fish room. So once I take down some shelves etc and touch those up. It's close to setting up racks.
 

Corndog

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BTW, my builder is thinking if we really bust ass we can have a soft open ready by Feb 1st.
 

BrutulTM

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I was going to ask you about selling online but it sounds like you've got that going already. Congratulations on getting going, has to be exciting.
 

Corndog

Lord Nagafen Raider
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It's going to take a month to put up some shelves, etc.? I don't understand.
Well it's more than just shelves. Shelves for dry goods need to be build. Also racks to hold aquariums. All the aquariums need a hole drilled in the glass, painted black on 3 sides, bulkhead installed. Also need to run the entire drain system. Also need to run the fill drip system. Also need to run the air system.

Basically 3 pvc lines that have to be within a few feet of every single tank in the place. This will be more advanced that your average pet store. Every tank will be on it's own filtration via sponge filter. With a 10% water change every day. The setup time is much longer. If I was to just open asap. I could be open in literally a week from now.

On top of all that building, the filters need some time to grow bacteria to support fish. I also need to install the ceiling fans and get the temp via heater regulated. As all the fish tanks will be heated by heating the whole room. If I don't get this adjusted before bringing in fish. I'll just kill a few thousand dollars.
 

Tmac

Adventurer
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It sounds like you've got a solid grasp on your business Corndog. I'm excited to follow your journey! Good luck and continue posting here for any advice you might need.