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GreenSpace Earns Checkbook Award

Customers discover oasis on Route One

Not just one check, but two. That’s what Greenspace Unlimited Garden Center recently received from Consumers’ Checkbook. Owner Cindy Spak didn’t even realize it until one of her customers mentioned it to her. Now she is getting phone calls from customers throughout the metropolitan area who are starting to take notice of this highly coveted rating.

Yet, the people who live around here already know that Greenspace is the best kept secret in the Mount Vernon area.

“It’s the best place in the whole world,” said Linda Holliman, “Look at the stock — I’ve been a proud customer for at least 10 years. Cindy is great for consultation. The wonderful thing is the convenience of it — it’s right here.”

Customers know Cindy’s expertise not only with plants, but also her caring and kindness when it comes to people — and animals. She has been known to care for as many as a dozen stray cats, and is currently tending to five infant kittens abandoned by their mother.

Jean Hardwick, another customer, said, “I just enjoy coming here — it’s a sure sign of spring. We buy all our flowers here as well as our Christmas trees.”

Justin Slater, who manages the garden center, said that they sell a full line of annuals and perennials. They also carry herbs and vegetables, some shrubs, interior plants — including orchids), pottery and gardening supplies. They are receiving their supply of aquatic plants and fish this week and have a complete line of pond supplies.

“It’s just a treasure — an oasis on Route One,” said Linda Mansfield. “I’ve been coming since it opened and among her most loyal customers. I’ve landscaped two homes with plants from here. The quality of the plants is as high as the quality of the people who work here.”

WASHINGTON CONSUMERS’ CHECKBOOK is nonprofit and carries no advertising, enabling it to provide ratings of local businesses without any question of bias. A subsidiary of Consumer Reports, Checkbook relies on customer surveys to determine the rating of local businesses.

One check means that a business is highly rated for price; another check is for quality.

“In order to earn two checks, a firm would have to provide above average service and have below average prices,” said Caroline Phillips, director of public relations for Consumers' Checkbook.

She also said the organization is a nonprofit consumer group and that they get their ratings by surveying thousands of local consumers each year — primarily their own subscribers.

“Businesses can't ask to be rated or included in the magazine ... we only include those with enough ratings from our surveys [good or bad]. The magazine carries no advertising which allows us to be unbiased in our evaluations of local firms,” Phillips said.

The issue of Washington Consumers’ Checkbook examined 85 local nurseries and found that of the 85 nurseries in Checkbook’s report, some were rated “superior” for overall quality by more than 75 percent of their customers, others by just 40 percent or fewer.

They also found that the big national chains — Home Depot and Lowe’s — scored, on average, lower for quality than almost any of the independent nurseries — with “superior” overall ratings from fewer than 40 percent of their surveyed customers.

GreenSpace Unlimited Garden Center is located at 7835 Richmond Highway.