Green Marine closing soon

Discussion in 'Other Reef Talk' started by xcaret, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. Thales

    Thales Past President

    When it opened, GM was the only store to be all CB/CR. It still is, if it is. The idea has been talked about for the last several years but they were the first to do it.

    I don't think the demand is being met by clubs, though this idea persists (and as you say below, coral sales are a small percentage of most LFS sales). People always want more coral and are willing to buy it. The argument can easily be made the other way - frag swaps and DBTC programs get more people involved in the hobby and provide loss leader corals to customers - then the LFS can spend its time suppling more profitable products.

    Sure, but that has little to do with a never tried before business model. Having worked at a billion LFS I thought the initial model was brilliant. CB/TR, low price, limited stock, no drygoods (drygoods are a miasma of hassles). This is what we offer, if you don't want this, this isn't the store for you. Trying to be a full service, full product store (which is basically impossible) works for only a small portion of LFS and smaller shops run themselves ragged, both mentally and monetarily, trying (unsuccessfully) to stock everything everyone wants.
    Never said they were. :D
  2. h20player101

    h20player101 Guest

    "From what I can see, the issues with GM have little to do with the business model, but more to do with running a business."

    To run a successful business, step one is have a product or service that people want. If your business model doesn't factor that in, it will fail. "This is what we offer, if you don't want this, this isn't the store for you." is quite right, and if too many people say this, you won't have a business.

    This is why I think the idea works better as a co-op. With expectation that you would have more of a volunteer based staff, and everyone working towards a non-monetary goal, it might be more successful. This could cut your costs for advertising/location, you could have a warehouse for all storage and products. It would also help with stocking, you can meet the co-ops demand more readily then an unidentified consumer on the street. This in conjunction with an active club (meetings, seminars, outreach), I think would be beneficial for the hobby.
  3. Thales

    Thales Past President

    They had a business model that was doing fine for a start up.

    Having worked in co ops I think that is a rose colored glasses view, but I look forward to supporting your co op. :D
  4. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Me too! Sounds cool
  5. h20player101

    h20player101 Guest

    Fortunately, I have a small business that is currently doing well. If we could get anyone that is retired, so income isn't mandatory, I would certainly support it! It would certainly be fun/interesting.
  6. yardartist

    yardartist Guest

    What do you base this on?
  7. Thales

    Thales Past President

    What I was told when everyone was friends.
  8. xcaret

    xcaret Supporting Member

    I honestly think the business model was fine, biggest issue is the economy not picking up and for the past three years has been awful; people are just getting out of a hobby that's just that, not a necessity. Feeding PG&E or one's own family?
    Look around the LFS that have closed.

  9. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    Jeff you've miss read what Rich is saying then. His post was stated in past tense ;) "They had". He's not saying its viable now.
  10. Qwiv

    Qwiv Guest

    I would have to disagree that the business model is currently viable.

    LFS already struggle as it is. The most successful stores close to GM model seam to be run by one or more individuals that love to keep tanks and are successful in keeping them. It's their knowledge and passion that keeps the stores going. Just looking at stores around here that come and go and this is evident.

    Now, GM needs to compete with these stores but under more restrictions.
    First: CB stock is more expensive and/or harder to come by unless BAR members keep supplying it for free. All it takes is a change in the relationship with the store and the supply of free frags disappears. Plus CB stock is much more limited, which limits profit centers. You can't be cheaper than the LFS paying ORA prices.
    Second: The market for CB stock is smaller than regular stock.
    Third: Your trying to sell for cheaper than the competition and your supply is more expensive and more limited. Economics are against you here.

    Beyond the business model:
    The knowledge and passion on keeping the corals healthy and full of color needs to be there. The store is not set-up with a good quarantine program so all the stock is at risk. Who wants to buy a brown frag with red bugs because it is CB?

    An idea like GM needs to follow a model like Whole Foods. I think ATL is a better model if you only look at their FRAGs. They find the best corals and create enough demand that you will pay more for less + they have the knowledge to grow out these corals,
  11. Qwiv

    Qwiv Guest

    I know. But basing a business model around people, is not a good business model. A business model is something you can pick-up and take with you.

    You can't replace a person and his connections. At least not in this area. Maybe sneakers and fashion because there are always other players, actors, singers to fill in the blank.

    Now, I think this model could be tweaked to work. Have a CB section in a LFS or even have a CB Frag business implanted into a different kind of business all together. Say a frag tank in a night club/coffee shop. That still means the model is a Symbiotic business model and needs the support of another business to survive.
  12. Thales

    Thales Past President

    Its not that Jim had the only connections, its that Shawn has none - an almost no experience in the practice of reefkeeping. That is what IMO makes it seem like the business may be in for problems.
    I think the model could have worked as it was (and I don't think the were getting coral for free - the certainly weren't getting it free from me).

    From what I have been told the business was working (though that could be untrue) before Jim left, and my understanding was that it was working for a start up, not rolling in cash. I don't think their supply was more expensive than what they were selling it for. I thought, and still think, that a business like GM could work. :D
  13. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

    It's a fact that, properly marketed, the two best days a business will have are the grand opening and the going out of business sale.
    I don't think the first one was taken advantage of.
    The latter could be his saving grace if done right.
    Or not.
    Both would require immense work and some capital.
  14. yardartist

    yardartist Guest

    I agree things became more difficult with just the one person on site. I am suspect it was a OK before that given the economy. Its not money one day then none the next. There is a time of knowing being out is coming. I can only imagine how stressful that time would be for any business.

    It has been and still is a great place to hang out for a few minutes when I get the chance to swing by for water, or am out that way. Different economy and I might be filling a much larger tank. As it is lovin' that I still have the little hex.
  15. ryanjiang

    ryanjiang Guest

    ATL is a brand name, their website has average 500 UNIQUE VISITORS per day, they really have no issue to sell for high price tag. IMO the success is not only that Min is a good business man & have good sight on what corals market demand. But more important is the timing of start, competition was less: there was no DSF which IMO is biggest competitor of retailers; Local club did not have wide base as today; and check out how many websites selling frag these days. Last but most important is that was in a very long cycle of capital bull market, the real estate booming made more people get into house & the hobby, the appreciation of everything make people feel rich & credit is hugely available to support spending on hobby. It would be very very tough if he start today.

    To succeed in the long run, it has to pay reasonable price to frags in order to motivate & establish more growers.
    Other two things I see it should try: 1) The concept & selling point is CB corals but don't need to be inclusive on that, you are losing lot of opportunities having that restriction, just need to keep majority stock CB & clear mention what are not. 2) $10 frags is def. a good idea to draw traffic, but it would need small portion of high margin stuff to better utilize the traffic.

    IMO the major determine factor of this biz model is supply, but since you mentioned yourself can supply that many & there are other growers like you, I think it in fact workable. Just need to operate very efficiently, focus on penetration to wider customer base on Internet. Someone need to be hired to re-design the website in today's e-Tailer standard, as well as laying out Internet marketing strategy.
  16. Thales

    Thales Past President

    So why has he been pushing pyramid schemes on customers (making many uncomfortable enough not to go there anymore) for the last few years?
  17. Qwiv

    Qwiv Guest

    Sorry, didn't mean to bring up ATL to critique them, only that they have been able to leverage good stock and the ability to grow corals well as a way to increase their margin. That is all.

    As far as starting up in boom times vs bust times. History has shown that businesses that start/survive bust times become successful and are "proven".
    A bad business started during a boom time will fail when the economy swings. Happens all the time. Most of the big and successful companies in america were started in bad times, not good. When things are tough, smart people come up with new ways to make money when money is scarce. There is a lot of risk involved so the decision to start something new is typically backed up with a well thought out business plan. When times are good, businesses tend to copy something that is working or try some idea that "might" work because people tend to feel the rick is low during boom times.
  18. ryanjiang

    ryanjiang Guest

    That is true, I have been annoyed as well, guess big buck is hard to make in SW business.
    Think he has stopped that for long time, in fact for awhie I barely see him in the store.

    But talking about retail business, no matter how innovation you can go, you simply can not complete with those big sharks which use to only fit into wholeseller class, now e-business model enable big sharks to sell directly to end customers, they can sell at the wholesale price & still have profit. Traditional local small retail biz (except those selling service) model is doomed, LFS is still in a better position because many people are not comfortable buying live stock online & shipping is still too expensive.
  19. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Pyramid scheme?

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