Staying On Top
Retailers need to consider the current trends in the pond category when they are planning out their pond department for next season.

It is already time to consider planning the pond department for the 2010 season. If the store hasn’t incorporated a pond department in the past, consider starting one now. For customers, the benefits are endless–ponds offer relaxation and a welcome haven in the backyard. Additionally, ponds help support the environment and are a great way to relax and reduce stress.

If a store has a smaller pond department, it may be time for an expansion. A pond department (big or small) can be a profit center and a means to gain loyal customers who’ll visit regularly for pond food, water treatments, disease remedies and cures, and accessories–a steady stream of revenue in a growth category. Remember, a pond department can be one aisle of the store or even an endcap display that can be added to later. As long as the display is clear and easy to navigate, the pond department will flourish.

When creating or expanding a pond department, consider the following current trends in the category, as well as the overall economic climate in the country.

Energy Efficiency & Green Living
In addition to saving money, many states are de-regulating energy companies, causing consumers to look for any appliance or ‘plug-in’ device to be as energy efficient as possible. Pondkeepers and water gardeners are no different. In 2010, expect pond products to be as energy efficient as possible. When stocking a pond department, ask manufacturer partners to help in this effort. Ask for products that are and energy efficient. When it comes to energy efficiency, the staff must be aware that just because a product uses less power does not necessarily mean it is energy efficient.

Customers are also looking for “green” alternatives in every aspect of life, including water gardening and ponds. Ponds help the environment in so many ways, including conserving energy and supporting the eco-system in the neighborhood.

Popular Equipment
Pond skimmers are becoming more and more popular, mostly due to their ability to keep a pond running effectively with less work for the pond owner. Skimmers work with other types of filters to eliminate larger elements, such as floating leaves, which would clog other types of biological or chemical filters. Many pond skimmers are creatively designed to fit with the pond’s design.

Spitters are also increasing in popularity. Using spitters is an easy way to add moving water to the pond if a pondkeeper does not have the room for or the desire to build a waterfall or stream. Spitters add much needed oxygen to the pond for fish inhabitants, as well as circulate the water for an overall healthy ecosystem.  Spitters come in various designs to suit individual tastes. Consider adding these to your pond department to offer a variety of options for customers.

Lastly, pressure filters are a must-have in your pond department, as they comprise an efficient, easy-to-use filtration option for customers. These filters can be positioned anywhere around the pond. Since this sealed filter is under pressure, the filter may be buried and the flow discharged uphill to a waterfall or stream. Pressure filters are easier to conceal than most gravity filters. Some pressure filters come with a back-flush mechanisms and integrated UV clarifiers for controlling green water algae.

Curt Nuenighoff is TetraPond director.