Better Bench System

January 22, 2004 - 13:01

What others say about this product and how it worked for them.

Val-Co Environmental & Greenhouse Systems, Bird-In-Hand,
Pa., kept durability in mind when manufacturing the Better Bench System. The
Better Bench, greenhouse/garden center bench is cost effective and has a high
weight to square foot ratio, yet it is portable, easy to assemble and
attractive in its surroundings.

Putting your money in a product that would best fit your
business needs is essential, so we talked to some of the bench owners and asked
them to evaluate their experience with the Better Bench System.

Design

The Better Bench System is designed for maximum loading,
supporting over 40 lbs. per sq.ft., according to the manufacturer. It features
a black bench top, which is molded in plastic and prevents light reflection
back onto the plant. The ventilation slots on the benches' tops are
engineered to allow for maximum air circulation and water drainage around the
plants, essential for disease prevention. The bench framing is manufactured
from 12-gauge galvanized steel and bolts together very quickly and easily. The
Better Bench is available in three heights (24, 30 and 40 inches) and two
widths (48 and 72 inches). A bolt-together design allows for any length bench
and provides portability. The benches are designed to be either permanently
installed or freestanding.

Doug Walters, president of W.W. Greenhouse, Hudsonville,
Mich., said that so far the benches have performed very well. Walters purchased
100 benches. "The bench assembly was very simple. It only took about 20
minutes to put a bench together; with other benches, it has taken us twice that
time."

Durability

Walters uses the benches mainly outdoors. "We are a
garden center, so we put anything on top of the benches that we have to
display," he said. "In terms of durability, granted we only had
them for one season, they have held up very nicely -- they are not going
to rot or rust." According to Walters, although other products are made
of fiberglass -- they are not as durable and do not have the strength that
the Better Bench does.

Sue Andersen, owner of Mason Hallow Nursery, Mason, N.H., is
also impressed with the benches' durability. Andersen purchased 10 Better
Benches for outdoor use as well. "What makes this product different from
others currently available on the market is that it is very strong,"
Andersen said. "The benches can withstand all kinds of weather
conditions. We use them outside, and they are probably going to be out there
throughout the winter months."

Features

The bench is also designed with removable tops, which make
cleaning, as well as relocation of the bench to another area, easy and quick.
For storage, they can easily be stacked as well.

Jose Ramos Jr., manager of El Sembrador Nursery, Inc., San
Diego, Calif., said he replaced racks with eight benches in the nursery retail
section. Ramos was really happy with the purchase because the benches were very
durable and easy to move. According to him, moving the benches around does not
require disassembly. "We've only had to split them, because we have
long benches -- probably about 40 or 50 feet long -- so we just split
them apart in the middle and move them from place to place."

In addition to the removable tops, Walters said he was very
happy with the bench's angled legs. "I like that their legs are
designed so you can drag the garden hoses around them and they won't
pinch or cut."

Final Words

"I am glad we purchased this product," Andersen
said. "We could have gotten something else at a lesser price but probably
would have to replace it within a year or two." And Walters added:
"Overall, I think it's the strength of the bench and [the fact]
that it doesn't rot or rust or deteriorate that I like best."

About The Author

Neda Simeonova is associate editor for GPN. She can be reached by phone at (847) 391-1013 or E-mail at nsimeonova@sgcmail.com.

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