The Evergreen Home and Garden Showplace History
Auke & Sarah Valk came to the United States in 1950 after the German armies had ravished their motherland, Holland, during World War II. Kingsport businessman C. P. Edwards selected Auke and Sarah, along with two other Dutch families, to share in his dream of success in the Model City.
The first four years were very trying; but, after hard work and dedication to family, honesty, and God, they constructed a small retail garden center called Ridgefield’s Garden Center in downtown Kingsport, as well as growing greenhouses in Ridgefield’s subdivision. Another store was built in the early 60’s in Johnson City, but when Mr. Edward’s empire began to fade in the mid-60’s, the second location was abandoned.
In 1966, because of the Valk’s hard work, Mr. Edwards sold the garden center and greenhouses to them and Evergreen Garden Center & Landscaping Co., Inc. was founded. By this time, Auke and Sarah had 6 children. 4 sons and 2 daughters who would spend time helping out at the family business as they grew up.
In 1967, the Valk family constructed a new location on Industry Drive. Tremendous retail growth followed allowing for expansion.
In 1973 construction began on the location on Riverport Road and in October 1975, Evergreen opened the doors to the most modern garden center in the region. By this time, Auke, Sarah, and their four sons were involved in the day-to-day operations.
In 1989, Evergreen purchased a small garden center in Colonial Heights to service the area due to increased competition and consumer demand. This location grew from a small roadside location to the Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Assn. choice as ‘Garden Center of the Year’ in 1994.
In the summer of 1983, Evergreen purchased land in Johnson City and Evergreen of Johnson City was formed. Brothers, Tony & Michael Valk, took over ownership of the Johnson City location while the other two brothers, Henere and Lee, took ownership of the Kingsport locations.
In 1990, Evergreen moved many of the greenhouse production responsibilities to another site located near the parent location on 1401 Riverport Road. Computerized heat/vent controls and computerized irrigation are examples of the state-of-the-art technology were used at this facility. In 2012, we closed this growing facility to focus on the ever-growing needs of our retail garden centers.
In 1994, Evergreen Home and Garden Showplace joined a group of 500 premier garden centers from across the nation with TruServ/H&G Showplace. Participation in this group has provided us with a broad range of new products and consistent store displays.
In 1995, Evergreen Home and Garden Showplace helped form a group of garden centers from Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia, known as the TAG Garden group. This association allows its members to share management ideas and purchasing opportunities, as well as lowering product costs.
In 1996, Evergreen Home and Garden Showplace were again selected among its peers as the Tennessee Nursery and Landscape Association Home and Garden Center of the Year. Along with the numerous landscape awards for our creative installation, Evergreen Home and Garden Showplace garnered the Business Journal’s “Tri-City Business Awards” in 1997.
In 2004, we celebrated our first 50 years in business, bringing the finest garden products and services to an ever-expanding market area. Construction was completed in March to expand the Colonial Heights location (which now it serves as the main location for Evergreen of Colonial Heights).
In September of 2018, The Green People moved our staff, products, and gardening secrets the more Colonial Heights location. The Riverport location was closed at this time.
In 2022, in preparation for Henere and Lee Valk to retire and the next generation to continue the family legacy, the youngest brother Michael Valk purchased the Colonial Heights location with his daughters, Jessica and Sarah. They are excited to join the great exisiting team at the now named "Evergreen of Colonial Heights".
Tony Valk and his son Andrew will continue to run the Johnon City location.