I initially visited Al's because I got tired of the garden sections of retailers like Wal-Mart and Lowe's. What I found was a brilliant selection of quality products [i.e. They aren't already on their last leg from being root-bound.] and a font of gardening expertise.
If I have a question about a plant, pest or soil composition, someone there can help me. I believe that because these people have never let me down. What's more, they have such sweet, eager and friendly employees. Their prices rival the mass retailers but beat the pants off of them in quality.
They don't have the extended hours of larger stores, but still, I go out of my way to shop them because my experience is so much better.