Our first summer!
Blog post written by Andy | 02 September 2011 | Category: In the shop
Hey again everybody! I hope you all had a good summer (yeah I know apparently we did have a summer so Gary tells me!) and all managed to have some kind of holiday in any sun you could find.
First off, I want to thank everyone for their messages of support as I got married on the 24th July and had a fantastic time. I still haven't got used to wearing a wedding ring and apologise if my usual high bagging skills have dropped.... but I am getting better!!
We have all been really busy at the shop as this was our first summer here at Cooling's Green and Pleasant. We are really pleased with how it's gone and the reaction we have had from customers both new and old!
When we first decided to set up Weald Aquatics we looked at lots of locations all over the place. We wanted to find a garden centre with a really friendly environment that catered for families as that's what we have been known for ourselves back in the days of Keston. We loved seeing families come into our old shop and watch how excited the children became seeing all the different types of fish we had. Sometimes when I was working hard on a grey Monday morning cleaning those fish tanks, a group of kids would come in and look at the fish and ask questions and speak with real enthusiasm and excitement. It really would make all the hard work worthwhile. We wanted to build on that in our new shop. That's why we have set all our tanks at a lower level and constructed our pond units with glass fronts so children could see what's inside as easily as possible. We were hoping for some positive feedback, maybe a few comments and smiley faces. However I don't think any of us could have imagined how popular our shop has been with people! We have some families that come in regularly every Sunday morning and stay for at least an hour..... they don't even have a fish tank!!! So we must be doing something right!
We are already planning for next summer (the ruthlessly efficient people that we are!) and have been taking notes of what customers want to see next year. We are already designing a large raised show pond in our outdoor section. It will not only allow us to showcase our range of fountains and waterfalls but also allow us to stock much larger fish. We can also show customers how easy it is to maintain a pond throughout the year. Due to the huge success of our pond plants, we have also taken over Cooling's Pond Plants which means we can expand our range even more! We are looking at stocking over 500 pond plants at one time and that's not including our larger selection of water lilies, deep water marginals, floating plants and loose oxygenating plants!
Another thing customers are looking for is a wider selection of waterfalls. This has led us to several new suppliers who from next year will supply us with slate, rock, pebble and sandstone effect waterfalls.
We have also taken customers' requests to stock solar equipment on board and are currently trying to find a reliable supplier of solar lighting, fountains, pumps and water features. We have a few promising people lined up so watch this space and I will keep you all posted!
Inside the shop it's all systems go as well. We are pleased to announce that we have started the construction process for our 6th, 7th and 8th banks of aquariums which will create a complete wall of aquariums running the length of our shop. Being in charge of all the livestock (and a fish geek!) this is a really exciting time for me. After what seems like years of protest Gary has finally succumbed to my tantrums and agreed to me stocking a dedicated bank of aquariums with African cichlids. I am currently talking to a local importer and breeder of these fish and the quality is amongst the best I have ever seen, so hopefully in a couple of months we will have some really fantastic looking fish on display (if I haven't bought them all first!).
We have expanded our range of aquariums and will soon be stocking Juwels new Nano aquariums (I sense another display aquarium coming on!). If you thought we had a lot of stock on display at the moment you would be wrong as we are preparing to put in several more shelving units to keep an even wider range of aquarium food, treatments and equipment. Gary has also found a new selection of artificial plants which look absolutely fantastic underwater and our range is really impressive, even if I do say so myself.
Well, I think I have left Gary cleaning those tanks on his own long enough. So back to work!
See you all soon!
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