7 On Your Side

Consumers' Checkbook rates local garden centers

Monday, July 22, 2013

Gardening is America's number one hobby, but you've ever tired it, you know it is not always easy and certainly it can be expensive. So 7 On Your Side set out to find a good garden center. The most recent edition of Consumers' Checkbook has rated garden centers and there are some real surprises.

Bay Area Consumers' Checkbook has been looking at the quality and prices offered by nurseries in the Bay Area and found there are huge differences between local stores and national retailers. The big chains like Home Depot, Lowe's and Orchard supply charge 40 percent below the average cost.

"Most of the independent stores just weren't able to compete with them on price. Where those independents do compete with them is on advice and quality of plants," said Kevin Brasler from Bay Area Consumer's Checkbook.

One of the highest rated for quality is Flora Grubb in San Francisco.

"Some other neighbors said that they love this place. So we came out and it looks like paradise out here," said Charlie Miller of San Francisco.

He's right. It has amazing plants and amazing displays.

"I think it is wonderful. The plants are beautiful. And I am sure they give you a lot of help if you have questions about what will do good where," said Miller.

He's right about that. The customer gets personal service, a lot of it too.

"We have really qualified folks here who are really interested in gardens and garden design, as well as plants. So when you come in you can get help picking things out and everything from selecting just one plant for a problem spot in your garden to we will help design a whole garden," said Flora Grubb, co-owner of Flora Grubb Gardens.

Flora Grubb Gardens is like no other. It has its own coffee bar with a barista who does everything like the rest of the staff -- just right.

"I love it, so happy to be here every day. If you come and look around you will see it is just so beautiful here and that's also what makes it different from other garden stores. It is a beautiful, beautiful place to be," said Grubb.

Here's a warning -- Consumers' Checkbook reminds us that just because a store is local that does not make the advice better. You have to really check around and check their ratings.

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