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Brand U: A flood of creativity

September 7, 2021 -  By

All contractors have a favorite tool or product they use when installing a water feature or fountain. Maybe it’s a powerful pump, stunning spillway or reliable pond kit. All of those are much larger and flashier than the go-to product for George Mihalchick, owner of Ponds by George in Southampton, Pa.

His favorite product from the Atlantic Water Gardens line is one of its smallest: the check valve.

“I’ll never forget when Atlantic asked what my favorite product was,” Mihalchick recalls. “It’s the little, simple check valve because it does what it’s supposed to do. I’ve used ones from other companies, but these aren’t bulky and are so easy to use.”

A check valve goes into every pump he installs, and he estimates he’ll use about 50 of them this year between upgrades and new installs.

Ponds by George uses rock or driftwood on ponds to enhance the natural effects. (Photo: Ponds by George)

Ponds by George uses rock or driftwood on ponds to enhance the natural effects. (Photo: Ponds by George)

Mihalchick provides ponds, waterfalls, fountains, pond lighting, pond maintenance, holiday lighting, landscaping and landscape lighting services to about 85 percent residential and 15 percent commercial properties. He also has a garden supply store. Ponds by George’s annual revenue is $900,000.

Ease of use

Mihalchick has been using Atlantic Water Gardens products for about a decade — exclusively for the past eight years.

“I love the fact that I can do anything with their products. They come up with product lines or alter things to make them easier for installers to use,” he says. “They’re easy to use and easy to get, even through this tough time the past year or so (due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Atlantic is always there if I have issues, even though I haven’t had any.”

Atlantic’s products also allow him to use his creativity when creating a water feature. That could mean creating a spillway and wetland filtration system where the water comes up through their boxes with gravel on top, giving the illusion of a stream instead of a waterfall.

Some manufacturers’ products come prewelded and drilled, requiring installers to follow those predetermined designs. Atlantic’s products, however, don’t come with those holes in them, allowing Mihalchick to cut the products at the level and position he wants.

The possibilities of what and how he can use the products are nearly endless. He says the company’s products come in a variety of sizes to accommodate a range of water features.

Ponds by George uses Atlantic Water Gardens’ products to customize creative water features. (Photo: Ponds by George)

Ponds by George uses Atlantic Water Gardens’ products to customize creative water features. (Photo: Ponds by George)

“I just love working with them and supporting their cause and company,” Mihalchick says.

One of his most recent projects included removing a pond kit from another manufacturer that was about 15 years old. He took out the old components like the pump and tubing, which were too small for the pond, and installed an Atlantic skimmer.

“The customer immediately noticed the difference and said it was so much easier and operated better than what he had before,” Mihalchick says. “That’s the fun part — when you’re creating it and the water does what you want it to do in the end. We always have the homeowner plug it in the first time. They enjoy it, and it’s their investment.”

To create a natural effect, he uses either driftwood or rocks in every project to change the direction of the water — just one of the things that helps set his company apart.

“When you can create something from nothing and make it look like it’s been there forever, that’s the best part,” Mihalchick says. “Our motto is, ‘We create what nature forgot,’ and we do.”

He tips his hat to his partner in each of those projects — Atlantic Water Gardens. “I’ve been doing this for 32 years, and these guys are family,” he says.

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