That's how i started,,,,working, managing, owning,,,,,best way to go IMO, ya learn how to treat people so they trust you , and come back and spent $$
salt only is ok, but go look around at a LFS that has both,,,,people have money to buy fresh, a lot of them (me included) started that way.
that's the best way to learn the "biz", from the bottom up. you'll learn what needs to be done, and can pass that along as you move up (owner)
it's also a good oportunity to learn livestock, equipment(i used to hold "school" with employees to teach them about different equipment, disease control remedies, what filter and why , works onna certain size tank, so they can quide the customer toward a correct purchase,,,
a good time to learn about retail, making connections with distrib's and wholesellers.
used to be my credo:,,,
"made one person happy,he/she tells 5 people,,,
tick one off, and they tell 10 people,,,"
in a world of on-line and "mega-pet stores",best way to survive is to offer the best selection you can, live/drygoods,solid-honest advice(and be able to back it up)
we all look for bargains, ya gotta make the customer wanna come in and spend their money at your place,even if "Bubba's E- Fish Shack"can sell it cheaper on-line,,,
good advice /customer service is PRICELESS. their loyalty is what'll pay the bills.
i'd come home from the shop , and my voice would be shot, from talking everyone, some of which did not end in a sale (then), but ya gotta do it
sore voice then,,,sore fingers now,,,never changes!:funny:
you're lucky this question was not asked in person LOL
also, only carry drygoods that you use /would use, altho ya gotta carry some things for people starting out too,,and tell the newbies why they want the cheaper things vs. top end, maybe in the beginning, and point out that upgrading might be in order,so you don't get a lot of "but you told me that this filter,light,food, etc. ,was the one to get, and now i need something different?"
sorry for the loooong post, but i hope you got something out of it,,,
oh back to your question,,,
on a dealer,,,watch the delivery truck at the LFS,,or ask the help there , where they get their stuff,,,look around for boxes too(names)
do a internet search-wholesale pet dist.,,,,
dunno if these places i know of go up to you,,,
there's a couple more drygood places too, but can't 'member the names at this time,,
some places do both livestock /drygoods
some either or
any specific or more questions, feel free in asking me,,,i'll try to help,,,