John Olson is the CEO of Graystone Industries and an avid alligator wrestler. Graystone is a distributor for over a dozen brands of quality pond supplies with warehouse and retail locations in GA and NC as well as an internet store at When not working, John often spends his time hiking in the Appalachians, kayaking, or writing.

Water Walls offer Pond Perks without the Real Estate

By John Olson / October 26, 2020 / 0 Comments

Over the last decade, the pond industry has seen many changes in direction. Fewer ponds are being put in the ground, with many homeowners opting instead for pond-free waterfalls or fountains. In more recent years, there has been a growing trend toward formal wall fountains, or water walls. Pond supply manufacturers have had to race […]

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We’re All in This Together

By John Olson / April 17, 2020 / 0 Comments

Our world — and our industry — has changed drastically over the last month. COVID-19 fills the news every day with misery and death, while governments around the world are restricting the movements of their citizens. Here in the United States, the freedoms we hail as the very foundation of our nation are being curtailed. […]

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Bogus Orders: Top Ten Flags

By John Olson / December 31, 2019 / 0 Comments

>> This is a sidebar article to the article,  “Tips for Avoiding Online & Phone-Order Scams.”  ONLINE: 1. The billing address is different from the shipping address. Most fraudulent orders request a different shipping address, so this type of order deserves a little closer look. 2. The phone number is invalid or does not match […]

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Tips for Avoiding Online & Phone-Order Scams

By John Olson / December 30, 2019 / 0 Comments

I was studying our 2020 business plan when the call came in. The man on the phone said he wanted a skimmer, and I took his order. That’s when things began to feel … a little wrong. The man’s accent was Eastern European, but his name was Drake. The skimmer was not unusual, but I’d […]

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire! Resist Falling for Customers’ Tall Tales

By John Olson / May 1, 2016 / 0 Comments

This phrase was, no doubt, born on a long forgotten playground generations ago. It humorously calls into question the veracity of a child whose exaggerations have exceeded the acceptable norm. A classic example from my childhood is a fellow by the name of Marty. His brother was something else. According to Marty, his super-sibling was […]

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Eliminate Customer Objections to Close Deals

By John Olson / August 29, 2015 / 0 Comments

The presentation went as planned. You arrived a few minutes early and even picked up the morning paper from the lawn, handing it to the prospect on your way in the door. The potential customers were eager to see you, and after commenting on their lovely home and indulging in a few minutes of pleasantries, […]

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Getting Started with Stone Carving

By John Olson / April 27, 2015 / 1 Comment

Today’s pond customer will often look to his installer for landscaping and surrounding decorations to complement his new water feature. In the past, many installers have allowed these valuable supplemental sales to pass them by. Some of those who have made the foray into this business have limited themselves to providing plants, gazing globes, ceramic/resin […]

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No Quick Fix: Internet marketing overheads and rising costs

By John Olson / March 1, 2014 / 0 Comments

Are you thinking about bringing your brick and mortar pond business online? If so, turn to pg. 32, where John Olson dispels some of the common myths and misconceptions about Internet marketing and e-commerce in terms any technophobe will understand. While the road ahead may be time-consuming and expensive, following these tips can help make all the effort worthwhile.

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Beyond the Box

By John Olson / March 1, 2013 / 0 Comments

Long considered unattractive and difficult to work with, pond skimmers have changed very little over the last 20 years. But recent improvements have made these indispensable water feature workhorses more durable and cost-effective than ever.

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MAP Pricing Debate – In Depth

By John Olson / January 1, 2013 / 1 Comment

MAP, yes it can lead to a heated debate. John Olson tries to give a broad, yet in-depth overview of this hot topic. What is MAP? It is Minimum Advertised Pricing. MAP is not MSRP, short for Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price. Is MAP pricing the best practice for the current retail arena? John explains the Pros/Cons of each so you can decide what’s best for your store.

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