The Baltimore Sun’s readers have voted on what’s the best in the region from antiques to veterinary practice. This year’s winners include people and businesses recognized for outstanding service and customer satisfaction over the last year. Several businesses stood out from the crowd despite the downturn in commerce due to the pandemic.
Winners of the Readers’ Choice ballot were selected by readers in May.
For more categories, go to baltimoresun.com/best.
Best Garden Center/Nursery
Valley View Farms
1035 York Road, Cockeysville. 410-527-0700. valleyviewfarms.com
Carrie Engel began working at Valley View Farms in 1972 when she was 16 years old as a part-time employee in the produce and plant division.
Since then, Engel, now 66 and greenhouse manager, has been with the company for over 45 years and said while much has changed in the last four decades, the connections they have with their customers remain the same.
“I mean, [the relationship with customers] means the world, it’s why we’re still in business,” Engel said. “You watch what’s happened to so many businesses over the years and we still have a very solid foundation. And it’s the connection between our employees and those customers, and I just think all of us feel like we’re all working towards the same goal.
That goal, according to Engel, is to provide customers with the resources needed to garden and connect. While the business has felt the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic on many fronts, including with their supply chain, Engel said the pandemic has brought out a love of gardening in many people that’s led them to Valley View.
“I think it’s making that connection with nature for people and helping them with this whole COVID thing,” Engel said. “They’ve recognized that tens of millions of people have been drawn to gardening because it does get them outside, and it gets them with their families to some different projects, and we’d like to keep that going and build on it.”
Despite the challenges faced, Engel cited their ownership as part of their continued success. As she explained, the Farm was started in 1962 by brothers William “Billy” and John “Punkey” Foard. Sixty years later, the Farm remains under the ownership of the family, with Billy Foard’s son Andy Foard, now running the business.
A lot of Valley View’s employees have been with the company since the original ownership, Engel said. She feels the involvement of Andy Foard is essential to the business.
“With COVID, we all met the challenge together to figure out what we’re going to do with not just employees but with the business itself,” Engel said. “And just knowing that the owner is here every day, especially in the busy times and has a handle on what’s going on, I think is really important.”
Aside from the pandemic, Engel said the Farm’s presence within the community has helped solidify its customer base. She specifically noted how coming to Valley View around the holidays has become a tradition for lots of families.
“We appreciate Baltimore and everybody that we have here,” Engel said.
— Caitlyn Freeman
Cleaning service: Dave’s Cleaning Consultants
The Cleaning Authority - Columbia
M J Baltimore Cleaning Services
Electrician: Walter Electric
Dan Flowers Electric
Milton Electric Co.
Dynamo Electric LLC
Fence installation: Pyle Fence Co. Inc
Fence & Deck Connection Inc.
C & C Fencing Inc. (tie)
Freedom Fence and Home Inc. (tie)
Flooring and carpeting: Floors Etc. and Priceless Carpet One Floor & Home (tie)
Carpets By Denny Lee
J D Carpets Inc.
Bel Air Carpet
Furniture store: Su Casa Furniture
Second Chance Inc.
Garden center/nursery: Valley View Farms
Walther Gardens at White Oak
Handyman: Clarksville Construction Services Inc.
Brothers Services Co.
Hardware store: Clarks ACE Hardware, Ellicott City
Waverly Ace Hardware
Federal Hill Ace Hardware
Home security installation: Strat Security Systems
CRS Security Inc.
Homebuilder: Bob Ward Homes
K. Hovnanian Homes
J.A. Myers Homes
HVAC repair: Perry Hall Heating & Air
No-Frost A/C & Heating
Level Air Conditioning
Interior designer: Studio A Staging
Anna Graham Interiors
Antique Exchange Interiors
Simply Grande Home Furnishings & Simply Grande Interiors
Landscaper: Rhine Landscaping
Forest Hill Landscaping
Lighting: Wilson Lighting & Interiors
Valley Lighting LLC
Annapolis Lighting Co.
Moving company: Making Moves LLC
Von Paris Moving & Storage
Perry Moving & Storage
Charm City Movers
Painter: Malcolm Stoll
Sheldon & Sons Inc.
Franco S. Painting
50 East Remodeling
Plumbing: Len the Plumber LLC
Horizon Services - Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Heating
Real estate agent: Stephanie Bamberger, Cummings & Co. Realtors
RJ Breeden, The Breeden Group Of Berkshire Hathaway
Jennifer Marsh, REALTOR Bershire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty
Caroline Meredith, Compass
Remodeling: Chesapeake Premier Remodeling, Inc.
Clarksville Construction Services Inc.
Homefix Custom Remodeling
Bearded Builders, Baltimore
Roofer: Homefix Custom Remodeling
Nu Look Home Design Inc.
Allied Remodeling (tie)
Brothers Services Co. (tie)
Tar Heel Construction Group LLC (tie)
Rug cleaner: Greenspring Rug Care
Kleenize Rug Cleaners
Main Street Oriental Rugs
Borhani Rug Co.
Solar installation: Solar Energy World
Maryland Solar Solutions Inc.
Nu Look Home Design Inc.
Homefix Custom Remodeling