Preparing for Spring
Retailers should be ready to offer sound advice and good product recommendations to pondkeepers that are getting ready for the warmer months.

As pondkeepers get ready for the spring season, storeowners must also do a bit of preparation. As the water gardening experts, retailers must be ready to provide pondkeeping customers with good advice and quality merchandise.

When a pondkeeper begins to get ready for warmer weather, retailers should remind them to examine their ponds for damage and clean the pond of any debris. This includes an inspection of all hoses for leaks. Also suggest that pondkeepers test the pump and filter in shallow water to ensure they are working properly. Retailers should make sure to stock all of the pond equipment necessities so if there is a problem, the product can be replaced immediately.

In addition, this is the time to think about expansion and upgrading. If a lining needs to be replaced or if a customer has decided to add a water feature, now is the time to do so. This is also a good time to think about adding floating, submerged or potted plants. These plants add valuable nutrients and oxygen to the water, and they also provide shade and shelter for fish. Asking customers what plans they have for their ponds will open the door to sell them additional merchandise. Having water features and plants on display in the store may encourage pondkeepers to purchase these products for their ponds at home.

Fish Care
Spring is a critical time of the year for fish. As they come out of dormancy, their bodies are low on important nutrients that help ward off disease, so they are more likely to become vulnerable to illness. To keep the incidence of sickness to a minimum, sludge and debris must be removed from the bottom of the pond, and at least 25 percent of the water will need to be replaced. For water replacement, conditioners will remove the chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals found in tap water.

In the spring, pond fish should be fed a wheat-germ based diet only after pond water temperatures rise above 39°F. Wheat germ-based foods are high in simple carbohydrates and are easier to digest. Feeding wheat germ foods will help transition fish in and out of winter and increase their survival rates during the early spring. Keep water treatment and food products displayed at eye level so customers can easily find what they are looking for.

Information is Key
Retailers are the experts, and customers look to them for advice and product recommendations. In preparation for spring, stores may want to set up an information booth that customers can visit to ask questions and receive assistance. Make sure to have a feeding cycle exhibit and a visual representation of the nitrogen cycle on display during spring preparation months.

 If the store has the resources, offer services like water testing or a pond inspection. This is a great way to see the pond and it offers a chance for the retailer to recommend appropriate water treatments or add-on suggestions. Making the trip out to a pond will increase customer loyalty, and charging a small fee for this service will help increase the store’s bottom line.