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About Blue Thumb, Inc.


Hello! My name is Kip and I’m the owner of Blue Thumb. By this point you’ve most likely become familiar with Blue Thumb and what it is we do so instead of telling you more of the same let me tell you a little about myself, my family, and how we got started.

My wife Nicole handles the finances here at Blue Thumb.  We met when she interviewed for a job here at Blue Thumb. A few months later she was practically running the place. Two years after that we were married. We have three beautiful daughters together- Emma, Mollie, and Charlotte…and a Yellow Labrador the girls named Belle (after Tinkerbell and Princess Belle of course). Stop by anytime and throw the ball for Belle- she loves visitors.

I was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan and aside from my four years studying International Business at Eastern Michigan University I’ve lived there all my life. Aquariums were a passion of mine growing up as a child. So much so that I started Blue Lagoon Aquatics as a senior in high school (1992) cleaning aquariums at doctor offices after school. After college I came back to Saginaw and purchased a local pet store so I had somewhere to operate my maintenance business from. It was 1996 and the pond industry was about to go into major growth mode.

Blue Thumb around 2000
Blue thumb around 2005


Many customers were coming into the store requesting pond supplies which eventually lead to us installing ponds professionally. In 1998 I decided that managing the pet store was robbing us from focusing on what we did best- water features. So I sold the store and purchased a building to operate our water feature installation/maintenance business from.

By 2000 not only were we installing our own water features but we were getting requests from other landscapers to educate them on how to install them properly. I saw the need for education & training with quality equipment and so by the end of 2000 I sold off the install business and opened Blue Thumb Distributing, Inc. Blue Thumb would focus exclusively on everything relating to ponds & water features.


Fast forward to 2005…we grew steadily along with the rest of the pond industry but still felt we were not assisting customers exactly as we wanted. We wanted a line of water feature equipment that met the quality demands of our customers. We wanted a product line that had all the features our customers were requesting and we determined the only way to get that was to invest in our own tooling and create our own product line.

In 2006 we put all our ideas and feedback from customers into our own design and created the PondBuilder brand of water feature equipment. We now control the quality, availability, features, & benefits of the products we make and I am extremely proud of what our team has accomplished in such a short time. PondBuilder products are now available throughout the US and Canada at the finest distributor & retailer establishments and are installed by like-minded professional installers.

Blue Thumb warehouse expansion
Blue Thumb Today


In 2012 we completed a 25,000 sqft expansion of our warehouse allowing us to become more efficient packing orders and live up to our goal of shipping all orders within 24 hours of receipt. The expansion allowed us to expand our R&D space which will help us in perfecting existing products and develop tomorrow’s products and ideas.

Today, we focus on assisting our customers in becoming more successful selling and installing the 6 Different Types of Water Features: Bubbling Rock Fountains, Column Fountains, Ceramic Vase Fountains, Ponds/Water Gardens, Pond-Less Waterfalls, & Formal Falls.

Your business and success are important to me. That is why I’ve selected the best support staff you could ever want! I want you to think of each of my employees as an extension of your staff. Each is dedicated to helping you become more successful with water features. We mean that.

Our business is blessed to have each of you as customers. We appreciate your loyalty to us and take your success and business seriously. Please feel free to contact us directly should you ever feel the need- I’d love to hear from you!

Northrup Family