The AquaLife Dealers Lounge, a trade group for aquarium and pond retailers, has enrolled over 100 members since its inception last fall. Membership is limited to independent, brick-and-mortar retailers of aquarium and/or pond products. The Dealer Lounge executive director, John Tullock, says the organization’s primary goal is to assist small retailers in maintaining competitiveness.
“We had a slow start last year, but word is getting out and we are steadily growing.” Tullock said. He notes that independent retail shops generate interest among the public and are vital to winning new enthusiasts to pond keeping. “We want to help preserve the garden pond hobby, not to mention the industry it supports,” Tullock said, “Independent retailers are the backbone of the industry because their physical presence in a community attracts new converts.”
Besides advocating for the interests of brick-and-mortar retailers, the Dealer Lounge arranges members-only promotions with manufacturers. “With a growing membership base, we are acquiring the clout to negotiate pricing structures that allow our members to compete effectively with big-box discounters and online retailers,” Tullock said, “We are developing the ability to do much more than marketing and offer business development advice. We are becoming a force to be reckoned-with by those manufacturers who seem to have forgotten the crucial role of independent retailers.”
*For more information, or to apply for membership, visit http://aqualifedealers.com
John Tullock is a 25-year plus veteran of the aquarium/pond industry and a former independent retailer himself. He has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books on aquarium keeping, including the enormously popular Natural Reef Aquariums. He enjoys relaxing beside his garden pond.*