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Re: Sales/Marketing/Follow-through


Assuming that you are still in the market for some natives, I have some 
nice H. formosa I would be willing to sell you or trade for fish from 
your area.  H. formosa are truly a fish that you want to get a few of, 
because you won't have just a few for long. Nice fish to have, no 
trouble, eat anything, propagate like crazy. Because of their small 
size, quite a few can be shipped in a small package so postage is 
relatively inexpensive for these fish.

Sorry that you had a poor experience.  Hopefully, the NFC will be able 
to do more "missionary" work when we get our programs up and running for 
a while and have a good supply of fish to distribute.  The Breeder 
Program is expected to generate lots of domestically raised fish, so it 
would not be unreasonable to expect a Beginner's Special promotion where 
someone could get a few fish to try.

I would be willing to trade some H. formosa, along with some nice 
Northern Redbelly Dace (another easy species to keep, but not compatible 
with the H. formosa as the little livebearers would be a menu item for 
the dace) for some Kansas darters or Cardinal shiners, if you could 
acquire some. Perhaps a local bait store or local fisherman could be 
used as a source if you don't have collecting equipment yourself, like a 
minnow seine, etc.

>From owner-nfc at actwin_com Sat Jun  6 05:41:49 1998
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>Date: Sat, 6 Jun 1998 07:41:42 -0500
>To: nfc at actwin_com
>From: Terry Mercer <tmercer at wichita_infi.net>
>Subject: Sales/Marketing/Follow-through
>Sender: owner-nfc at actwin_com
>Reply-To: nfc at actwin_com
>This is in response to the Herb Harris email concerning sales...in a 
>After some time keeping fancy goldfish and actively participating in 
>goldfish lists, I was becoming disenchanted with the "trophy" fish 
>of that part of the hobby and the "my dog's bigger than your dog" 
>that makes a $650 Hong Kong import a "better" goldfish than my lovingly
>raised and cared for Wal-Mart treasure.
>Inspired in large part by Robert Rice's FAMA article on the Flagfin 
>I began looking at native fishes, reading the NANFA web site 
>and generally thinking about a shift in focus to native species. At the
>same time, I was exploring in the killiefish areas on the web, trying 
>decide which group I would be most comfortable with - which group of
>hobbyists I could be most comfortable with, and which group of fish 
>provide the greatest challenge and (intangible) reward.
>This is a process not unlike that which most prospective members of NFC 
>converts to native fish keeping) might go through, and I offer three
>observations for what they're worth to this group.
>1. As it happens, another Wichitan whom I have never met began 
exploring on
>the Killie list at the same time I was. When we expressed an interest 
>beginning to keep killiefish we were both inundated with offers of free
>(except for postage) fish (both eggs and fry). The killie folks are 
>"evangelistic" about their hobby, and seem wildly willing to share more
>than advice. The other guy in Wichita chose to go the killie route, and 
>has already received eggs and fry and has three tanks of killies "up 
>running." Needless to say, he is a killie convert completely now, and 
>all know how three tanks leads to four tanks leads to five tanks...etc. 
>decided to concentrate on native fish (although I realize the two 
>are not mutually exclusive), which leads me to point two.
>2. I decided to get a "sample" group of what I believed to be one of 
>more common native fishes (not in my area, but in general): H. formosa. 
>looked through the NANFA Trading Post and picked out two breeders who
>advertised there. (Unfortunately, I didn't choose Robert Rice because 
>ad seemed to imply that his fish only went to those with "established
>breeding programs," and I didn't think I qualified - my experience 
>have been completely different had I chosen to deal with him!). One of 
>breeders to whom I sent a query ignored my email completely. This 
person is
>a "mover and shaker" in the native fish movement, but I don't think
>ignoring potential converts to native fish speaks to his moving and 
>for anything more than his personal aggrandisement. The other person
>responded with an offer of fish for sale, to which I responded 
>with the check for said fish sent within two days. That was nearly five
>weeks ago and still have NO fish, nor even a subsequent email from this
>gentleman for over four weeks. Initially he said the weather was too 
>to ship H. formosa, but that reason seems a bit thin as we suffered 
>100 degree days last week - perhaps now it is too hot? I cannot believe
>that this gentleman is dishonest - anyone scamming would figure out a
>better way of doing so than selling "vapor" fish! It is difficult to 
>out what his game is: do I not qualify somehow for keeping H. formosa? 
>he doubt my qualifications (he never asked)? Is my set-up somehow not
>adequate for taking care of these fish (again, he never asked)? I've 
>myself a lot of questions like that in the past four weeks, and not 
come up
>with any good answers. But you'd be right if you guessed that I wish I
>chosen killies like the other guy in Wichita who woke up this morning 
to a
>lively population of killiefish!
>3. I am somewhat bewildered by the 12 fish minimum that seems most 
>for NFC fish sales. For someone who wants to "test-drive" native fishes
>before plunging off the deep end, 12 fish of a particular species can 
>frightening. I wrote to Robert Rice awhile ago outlining my experience 
>White Clouds which I bought to "season" the tank which was waiting (and
>still is) for the H. formosa. I bought only 8 of them, and now I am
>practically run out of house and home with White Clouds! The idea of 
>12 of any species gives me nightmares of sleeping in the yard while the
>house fills up with new tanks full of more and more and more fry! Sell 
>three of something; let me play! As a teacher, I'm sure that play is 
>real way to learn; time enough for the work when the student is engaged 
>interested. The same method works with converts to the native fish
>movement: let us play with a smaller number of a species or two; get us
>hooked and we'll be moving out the kids to covert their bedrooms to 
>rooms to hold the 12 fish minimums of our new interest!
>I'm writing to the gentleman who "sold" me the H. formosa this morning 
>tell him to forget the whole deal. It's not that I no longer want H.
>formosa, it's just that I no longer care to do business with him! Will 
>ever get H. formosa? Will I ever get any native fishes? The bigger and 
>important question is do I care? It does very little good for Robert 
>to convert ten-thousand FAMA (or TFH in the coming year) readers to the
>native fish movement if there is no follow-through. If six months later
>those converts are still watching empty tanks (or tanks full of White
>Clouds!) then 9,999 of them are going to find something else to do with
>their time!
>As I say, just my two cents worth. Your mileage may vary. Forgive the 
>Terry Mercer

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