Clearwater, Fla. – Garden Centers of America (GCA) is honoring four IGC retailers that have raised the bar for the industry, setting the example with exceptional bathrooms as the winners of the seventh annual GCA Best Garden Center Bathroom Awards. A panel judged this year’s entries from indies nationwide on the bathrooms’ creativity and comfort to the customer’s overall shopping experience. This year’s Gold Winner, Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery in Tucson, Ariz., will enjoy one free registration to the 2018 GCA Summer Tour in Seattle, Wash., and a plaque for display in-store to tout the award to its customers. Other recognition this year include one Silver Award and two Merit Awards.
Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery, Tucson, Ariz. – Since starting its 4-acre expansion project five years ago, the goal that has guided the new face of Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery (pictured above) is to cater to a new generation of gardeners. Mesquite is turning its attention to making younger gardeners feel special, including their experience in the store’s bathrooms. The newly refurbished facilities are conveniently located just as customers enter the store. Phase one of the IGC’s expansion added stalls in the women’s and men’s bathrooms, along with a handicap-accessible restroom. Designed to be elegantly durable, the new restrooms are each distinguished by a slight variation in decor, as consistent elements of marble, limestone, ceramic and glass tie them all together. Marble countertops, glass sinks and ceramic accent wall tiles work together to create a contemporary, chic ambiance. Large copper garden pots double as tasteful trash receptacles. During phase two of the expansion, Mesquite’s snack shop and beverage boutique will open next door to the store.
Wingard’s Market, Lexington, S.C. – Until recently, customers of Wingard’s Market used the original bathroom in the 100-year-old Wingard residence, which has served as the retailer’s gift shop for the last eight years. Now, as part of recent additions to the house, two new spacious bathrooms are available to shoppers. Garden art and potted plants aren’t just interior accents – they’re for sale. Metal flowers and decorative mirrors on the wood paneling dress up the space. Tissue paper dispensed from woven baskets on the wood flooring is easily, and appealingly, within reach. In a nod to its past, a Wingard family photo and written history of the store take customers back in time.
Wingard's Market in Lexington, S.C. - Silver Award winner
The Garden Mart, Mukwonago, Wis. – The Garden Mart, a gold winner three years ago, recognizes the importance of updating its store bathroom on a regular basis. This year’s winning concept creates a sense of serenity with its Zen garden design. Ivy hand-painted around the door symbolizes strength for all who enter. Trickling water from the waterfall fountain filters out background noise, as the sun-inspired wall art invites customers to gaze in relaxation. There are no paper towels here – the bathroom is stocked with cloth towels, placed in a tin next to the sink, as a special touch.
The Garden Mart in Mukwonago, Wis. - Merit Award winner
Breezy Hill Nursery, Salem, WI – Breezy Hill Nursery’s upgrades turned its once cold, uninviting restroom into a warm, comfortable space for customers to enjoy. The non-functioning urinal, which is unable to be removed, is concealed with a stylish shoji screen that contributes to the tranquil atmosphere. Harsh light from fluorescents is softened with a tabletop lamp. A red poppy painting enhances the look and feel of the bathroom, brightening up the space with a pop of color. A potted tree brings a touch of nature inside.
All photos courtesy of Garden Centers of America