What do you think of when you hear the term “LFS”? ( local fish store) I hope for many of you it’s a term that makes you happy. I hope you smile and think about the last saltwater pet you bought and see him swimming happily in your aquarium. But that term too often these days makes people mad or sad. I can tell you what that term means to me. It means passion, love, and responsibility. I am a second-generation LFS owner. My parents bought a store when I was one year old in the early 80’s. They had it for 29 incredible years before they retired. Any small business retail these days is tough, but when you have live animals it gets tougher. I grew up being fascinated by our fish and had all types of pets growing up. The Passion: You have to have a passion for this business. I am passionate about helping people solve their fish problems. I am passionate about matching the right fish with the right aquarium. I am passionate about getting healthy fish in and keeping them healthy. I am unbelievably passionate about aquaculture.
The Love- It’s not just work, it’s our life and our love. I love every animal in my store. They are amazing, and we are constantly learning about them. I went to college to find a career that my parents thought would be easier then retail. I came home on weekends to help them out at the store and I was always good at talking to people and guiding them. After college I stayed at the store and helped out 7 days a week. We were a great team. The big stores eventually took their toll and the overhead was too high; my parents weren’t getting any younger, so they decided to retire. At that point I thought about being a housewife for a while till I figured out what else I wanted to do. Then an opportunity presented itself two miles from my house. A small retail location in town with no other stores around. I went for it and Colchester Pet was born. I pulled my parents out of their 5 minute retirement and we never looked back. That is a love you don’t find often.
Responsibility- As your local fish store, we have a profound responsibility to give you the best advice possible. In a world of internet advice (good or bad) there has to be a place where you can go and get help from someone who has experienced it first hand more than once. We have a responsibility to you, your fish, and our planet to help you make the right decision. We have a responsibility to tell you all about captive bred fish and carry as many as we can because it’s better to have them instead of taking one from the ocean. We have the responsibility to tell you the best advice even if it costs us the sale. We have the responsibility to get the most healthy fish and care for them in the best way we can. Overall, we have the responsibility to educate you to the best of our knowledge.
I truly hope that you have found an LFS like this. If you are one of the unfortunate ones who have not, then keep searching. We are out there, we are the humble ones who are in it for the love of the fish and not the almighty dollar. Do you have an awesome LFS? Please tell us about them in the comments