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This profile was last updated on 7/18/14  and contains information from public web pages.

Mr. Steve Kainer

Wrong Steve Kainer?

General Manager

Phone: (512) ***-****  HQ Phone
Hill Country Water Gardens
1407 N. Bell Blvd.
Cedar Park, Texas 78613
United States

Company Description: Hill Country Water Gardens offers an array of services for pond owners. Complete turn-key design and installation of koi ponds, water gardens, water features,...   more
Background

Employment History

Education

  • Texas A & M
18 Total References
Web References
Steve Kainer : General ...
www.hillcountrywatergardens.com, 18 July 2014 [cached]
Steve Kainer : General Manager
...
Steve Kainer
General Manager
Hill Country Water Gardens Sells the Splash | Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery
hillcountrywatergardens.com, 28 Mar 2012 [cached]
Steve Kainer did it backward. Backward, at least, compared to the way most retailers get into water gardening. Kainer is owner of Hill Country Water Gardens, which opened 12 years ago a few miles outside of Austin, Texas, as a small business focused almost solely on water gardening.
...
Kainer knows exactly what his higher-end market demographic is looking for.
...
Kainer likes to see new fountains in person before he buys anything. Hill Country sticks with four primary vendors - Henri Studio, Unique Stone, Massarellis' and Campania - for most of its SKUs. Once Kainer and operations manager Christopher Howell have identified what they like at the shows, they do a lot of catalog buying in January, as well as during the season.
...
Kainer says he also gets much better terms by placing earlier orders.
"We're probably able to reorder a couple of times before payment is due on the first orders," he says.
Hill Country's primary vendors account for about 70 percent of its purchases. Kainer says he also likes to try out fountains from other vendors to fill out the rest of his buy. It's definitely a trial and error process, however.
"We see other fountains we like, but if the plumbing assemblies aren't good, or it's difficult to get parts or they don't go together easily it can be a problem," he says. "It's got to be something that's easy for two or three seasonal employees to set up and put together in 10 to 15 minutes."
It's also important to make sure the vendors have good molds for their products, Kainer says. "It's not worth spending an hour trying to level a piece to set it up. When that happens, we let them know we're going to find a new vendor, and we don't buy from them anymore."
Statuary and garden art are great complementary products to the fountains. Kainer says his goal with the artwork is to find pieces that both accent his fountains and nursery stock, and also offer Hill Country the opportunity to differentiate itself by offering unique merchandise.
Like many garden retailers, Kainer does a lot of buying at the markets in Atlanta. Dallas and Chicago. He also goes to auctions looking for interesting pieces to sell or use in displays, and works with the thriving artist community in Austin to come up with items you won't find anywhere else.
While Hill Country's local market tends to be on the higher end - they weren't impacted by the economic downturn quite as much as some areas on the country - Kainer and Howell have consciously changed the value of their fountain product mix.
...
I'm going to bring in a few more big pieces this year just for a change of pace, but I think we're going to to stick to that trend for now," Kainer says.
2 - Displays and Merchandising
Getting the right product on site is just the first step. What really moves the fountains and statuary, Kainer says, is creating a setting for the pieces that customers can picture in their own backyards.
For Hill Country, that means great displays with a premium on cross merchandising product. You'll find statuary on nursery benches, and beautiful plants used liberally in fountaina dn are displays throughout the grounds.
"Our nursery manager is happy to let up put statuary on the nursery tables with teh plants," Kainer says.
...
I've never heard a customer complain about it, thought," Kainer says.
Nothing stays the same for long on the Hill Country grounds. Displays change often - once a week or more - to continually entice and inspire customers. Much of that work is handled not by Kainer or Howell, but by the rest of the staff.
...
Kainer has built a creative - and fairly unique - team over the years.
...
Great displays and branded products help set the table for a sale, but Kainer says the final step is having his staff well-trained and completely up to date on all the product.
Kainer and Howell hold meetings each Saturady morning starting in February to run through new products with the staff.
...
Kainer says one thing that has allowed Hill Country to be so successful with cast fountains and cast stone planters is having an installation crew.
...
"It's probably the biggest issue with fountains," Kainer says.
...
3 Ways to Sell Fountains - Hill Country Water Gardens owner Steve Kainer offers there quick ideas to help you move more product in the fountain, statuary and garden art categories.
Meet The Staff | Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery
hillcountrywatergardens.com, 13 Nov 2013 [cached]
Steve Kainer I just came to the realization that I've spent about 3/4 of my life in or around aquatic life.
"It was an honor to be ...
hillcountrywatergardens.com, 1 Feb 2011 [cached]
"It was an honor to be recognized amongst all the other great garden centers in the country," says Steve Kainer, owner.
...
Steve Kainer did it backward. Backward, at least, compared to the way most retailers get into water gardening. Kainer is owner of Hill Country Water Gardens, which opened 12 years ago a few miles outside of Austin, Texas, as a small business focused almost solely on water gardening.
...
Kainer knows exactly what his higher-end market demographic is looking for.
...
Kainer likes to see new fountains in person before he buys anything. Hill Country sticks with four primary vendors - Henri Studio, Unique Stone, Massarellis' and Campania - for most of its SKUs. Once Kainer and operations manager Christopher Howell have identified what they like at the shows, they do a lot of catalog buying in January, as well as during the season.
...
Kainer says he also gets much better terms by placing earlier orders.
"We're probably able to reorder a couple of times before payment is due on the first orders," he says.
Hill Country's primary vendors account for about 70 percent of its purchases. Kainer says he also likes to try out fountains from other vendors to fill out the rest of his buy. It's definitely a trial and error process, however.
"We see other fountains we like, but if the plumbing assemblies aren't good, or it's difficult to get parts or they don't go together easily it can be a problem," he says. "It's got to be something that's easy for two or three seasonal employees to set up and put together in 10 to 15 minutes."
It's also important to make sure the vendors have good molds for their products, Kainer says. "It's not worth spending an hour trying to level a piece to set it up. When that happens, we let them know we're going to find a new vendor, and we don't buy from them anymore."
Statuary and garden art are great complementary products to the fountains. Kainer says his goal with the artwork is to find pieces that both accent his fountains and nursery stock, and also offer Hill Country the opportunity to differentiate itself by offering unique merchandise.
Like many garden retailers, Kainer does a lot of buying at the markets in Atlanta. Dallas and Chicago. He also goes to auctions looking for interesting pieces to sell or use in displays, and works with the thriving artist community in Austin to come up with items you won't find anywhere else.
While Hill Country's local market tends to be on the higher end - they weren't impacted by the economic downturn quite as much as some areas on the country - Kainer and Howell have consciously changed the value of their fountain product mix.
...
I'm going to bring in a few more big pieces this year just for a change of pace, but I think we're going to to stick to that trend for now," Kainer says.
2 - Displays and Merchandising
Getting the right product on site is just the first step. What really moves the fountains and statuary, Kainer says, is creating a setting for the pieces that customers can picture in their own backyards.
For Hill Country, that means great displays with a premium on cross merchandising product. You'll find statuary on nursery benches, and beautiful plants used liberally in fountaina dn are displays throughout the grounds.
"Our nursery manager is happy to let up put statuary on the nursery tables with teh plants," Kainer says.
...
I've never heard a customer complain about it, thought," Kainer says.
Nothing stays the same for long on the Hill Country grounds. Displays change often - once a week or more - to continually entice and inspire customers. Much of that work is handled not by Kainer or Howell, but by the rest of the staff.
...
Kainer has built a creative - and fairly unique - team over the years.
...
Great displays and branded products help set the table for a sale, but Kainer says the final step is having his staff well-trained and completely up to date on all the product.
Kainer and Howell hold meetings each Saturady morning starting in February to run through new products with the staff.
...
Kainer says one thing that has allowed Hill Country to be so successful with cast fountains and cast stone planters is having an installation crew.
...
"It's probably the biggest issue with fountains," Kainer says.
...
3 Ways to Sell Fountains - Hill Country Water Gardens owner Steve Kainer offers there quick ideas to help you move more product in the fountain, statuary and garden art categories.
...
"Sixty thousand hardworking Austin families live in substandard housing," owner Steve Kainer said. "We found a way to help and our customers can too."
He added that Hill Country Water Gardens would fully provide the landscaping for five new Habitat for Humanity homes slated for consturction beginning in September.
Kainer explained how customers participating in the Backyard Makeover Sweepstakes can save money, help with the Austin Habitat for Humanity project and have a lot of fun.
"Starting in late June, customers can bring in their very worst 'before' pictures of an area in their yard," Kainer said. "They will then qualify for a 10 percent discount for a project to improve that area. He added that 5 percent of each project purchase would be donated to Austin Habitat for Humanity.
"The competition really gets going August 31," Kainer said. "Each competing family will submit 'after' pictures of their project. A panel of experts will select the five finalists."
Kainer said online voting will determine the final winning family project.
...
"The whole place has certainly developed into a destination," owner Steve Kainer said. "It's more than just a nursery for sure."
Kainer opened Hill Country Water Gardens 10 years ago after growing restless as a coach and teacher. He had spend his formative years working for water gardens in Houston and College Station, and said he wanted to get back to those roots.
The store began as a small project with Kainer and a couple of employees and throughout the years has slowly blossomed into what he calls a "destination nursery" with nine show ponds and 100 different water features.
"It's grown very slowly, but as we've grown, we feel like we've done it right every step of the way," Kainer said.
Today, Hill Country Water Gardens is the area's only full-line water garden retail store, Kainer said, giving customers a single place to find everything they need to install, maintain and stock any water feature.
Sandy and Al Smith came to Kainer for help planning a water feature for their front entryway.
...
After spending some time talking with Kainer, the couple said they changed their plans completely.
...
Kainer said the displays are in constant flux because the staff is constantly looking for new things to try.
"We'll get bored, so we'll change something," he said. Though the changes sometimes garner complaints, Kainer said most customers appreciate having something new to see with every visit.
The relaxed feel of the nursery tends to draw families who are looking for a unique way to spend the afternoon. Kainer said his staff doesn't employ any high-pressure sales and welcomes people who are there just to enjoy the scenery.
...
In order to make the nursery more inviting, Kainer and his staff offer several free events open to the public.
There are seminars every Saturday in the spring teaching the basics of installing and maintaining water features. Kainer also hosts two free annual events for the public: The Lily Blossom Festival and Night at the Ponds.
...
"It's an opportunity to come and enjoy the place in the evening," Kainer said. "It's a really sord of laid back, fun deal."
Kainer said that like the nursery, the festivals started out small and simple and have grown from there.
This year, Hill Country Water Gardens is growing more than any previous year. Kainer recently acquired three acres of property adjoining the current two-acre lot. With the extra space, he said he plans to expand parking, increase his plant stock and add a new showroom.
Even with the expansion, Kainer said he is not trying to compete with the bigger retail stores. The plants he offers are generally not available other places, especially the hardy local varieties.
...
"Paula worked for me," Kainer said. "We still miss her and just wanted to do something for her."
Kainer said he hopes to have the additions open ot the public later this year.
No matter how much Hill Country Water Gardens grows, Kainer said he always wants it to be inviting and fun. Whether visitors are there to
Untitled Document
soulofthegarden.com, 17 Nov 2006 [cached]
Steve Kainer, owner of Hill Country Water Gardens, a water garden nursery and supply business in Cedar Park, says that "Since September 11, people aren't traveling as much, but they are taking care of their homes. They are looking for peace and serenity and water gardens offer that."
While some people look at a pond and experience peace and serenity, others cringe at what they assume is a high maintenance nightmare. However, the reality of water gardening is really quite different- if the pond is properly installed and well sited, a few minutes of care a week should result in clear water and a balanced system. "Seventy percent of our customers install their own ponds," says Kainer, "we encourage them to use the rubber liners, but we have a lot of customers who've purchased those little pre-formed ponds at a discount store.
...
"They're my personal favorites," says Kainer, They are extremely prolific, very fragrant, and the colors are amazing- purples, blues, magentas, and hot reds."
The fish used in water gardens also tend to fall into two camps- koi, which are actually a form of carp, and the many different forms of goldfish. Koi are highly prized for their impressive size and spectacular colors. The down side to koi is that they need more space and often develop a taste for the plants in the pond. Goldfish are a very popular choice for their ease of care. "They don't need a deep pond and can handle both the heat and cold of Texas very well," says Kainer.
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