Family Firs

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A Tree Shop Grows in Brooklyn

Morgan Sevigny, 30, sells Christmas trees in Brooklyn as part of a family run business. Photo: Ashley Papagni

 

Just off Underhill Avenue, between Sterling Place and St. Johns Place, sits Puravida urban fitness center.  At 7:45 a.m., fitness boot camp is underway.  A handful of people are working out this morning, all to the beat of 1990’s tunes. It’s a time to get that heart rate up and burn calories before the long day ahead. For Morgan Sevigny, 30, that means teaching classes then running the other family business.

And the other family business is just steps away. A line of Christmas lights lead patrons from the front of the facility to the back door. The door opens into an evergreen wonderland — Christmas Tree Brooklyn.

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“I love selling Christmas trees, it’s actually my favorite job,” Sevigny said. “I started doing this with my brother. He comes down on the 11th, and my sister comes more towards the end of the month.”

This is Christmas Tree Brooklyn’s second year in business. The first year the store opened at 6:30 a.m.; selling time now starts start at noon and runs until 9:30 p.m. “We’re in sort of a funny spot, it’s not a high traffic area, it’s a neighborhood, so we don’t get people coming out this early,” Sevigny said. “The park, the library, the Botanic Gardens are all up this way, so we get a lot of people walking this street.”

As Christmas approaches, trees are not tossed away, but instead the price is brought down. At the moment, Christmas Tree Brooklyn’s going rate is $11 a foot, with firs ranging from 3 to 8 feet high.

The firs come from Southern Quebec and make the trek to New York City through a delivery service in New Hampshire.  Sevigny weeds out the Charlie Brown-esque tree. “We ask that he only brings us a quality tree,” she said. “There are different grades of Frasers. Some are not as full as others.”

Even if a tree is dashing in figure, some still try to slash the price.

“I had a guy come in last year and goes ‘Last year I got my tree for free from a friend’.  I said ‘No, you got to go back to that guy’.”

The competition for selling firs is fierce, with multiple vendors just blocks away. Sevigny says service and quality keeps people coming back.

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“I do see a lot of people in the neighborhood and they recognize me, and someone will say ‘you sold me the tree’ and we get a lot of positive feedback,” she said.  “I’m glad that people are satisfied.”

The merriest of moments, though, is sharing this experience with her family.

“It’s nice to be able to hang out with my siblings all of the time like that, and you obviously can’t do that 12 months out of the year,” Sevigny said. “We stay until the 24th, and then we got to get to grandma’s house.”

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