After 25 years in operations, the owners of Mountain View Koi Fish and Nursery in Hereford will bid farewell to their business at the end of the year prior to their retirement.
Owners Curt and Lisa Ogren met at Buena High School. After getting married, they started their aquaculture business in 1996 next to their house on a three-acre property. The business is currently home to a variety of trees, shrubs, cactuses and low-water native plants for sale.
Curt says he has always been in the landscaping business and designed their first koi pond in their back yard. Combined with Lisa’s retail experience, the couple began selling nursery and aquatic plants, as well as koi pond essentials, including fish.
“It’s a demanding business. We have to be here every day to water plants and take care of the fish,” Curt said. “Now we will be able to have some freedom.”
The Ogrens own the joint business, Pioneer Firewood (founded in 1981), and are planning to close that business in February or possibly sooner, depending on the amount of remaining firewood that is left for sale.
They plan to retire once all their merchandise is sold. They are selling items at their store at discounted rates.
Lisa says what she will miss most are the customers that she has served throughout the years.
“That’s what kept us going, our good customers and our beautiful ponds.”
In the past, the Ogrens would set up vendor booths at different locations throughout town like Buena High School, the Windermere Hotel and Cochise College.
The nursery would host koi pond tours at various homes throughout the area once a year. Visitors would be given a map and would visit eight to 10 koi ponds and finish with a lunch in the Ogren’s backyard.
“It gave people a lot of ideas on how to build their ponds,” Lisa said.
She says the biggest challenges for their business have been the changes in the weather affecting the plants on the property, including microbursts, frosts and the 2011 Monument Fire.
The koi pond nursery faced a lot of pressure during the start of the pandemic.
“We had the gate closed at one point and doing curbside (sales) at the gate, and I would go down there with the handcart filled with plants,” Lisa said.
The Ogrens eventually got a tractor with a cart to continue selling products in order for the business to survive.
Before COVID, the Ogrens would have a company anniversary every April at which family and friends would wear business T-shirts, work alongside employees during operation hours and have a barbecue at the end of the workday.
Curt says their business would be selective about which plants to grow and sell in a dry climate area. He mentioned the koi ponds are primarily recycled water and are not water users.
“We also have been considerate to the desert by having 60% coverage with water plants to help form evaporation,” Lisa said. “It also brings in the dragonflies, the butterflies, the hummingbirds, so we get all of that with just having a little bit of water in the desert.”
When asked what they look forward to the most once their retirement begins, Lisa said, “we’re going fishing.”