Seasonal business helps make fond holiday memories

By Beth A. Birmingham | Dec 04, 2018
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Keeping things running at Abraham's Wreaths and Trees at the intersection of routes 131 and 17 in Union are, from left, Abraham Knight, Rebecca DeSimone and Melyssa Knight, along with Cedar.

Union — While creating a way to make extra money, one local businessman and his family have made a stop at their shop a December tradition for many locals.

Abraham Knight established Abraham's Trees and Wreaths in 1994 near the same location at the corner of routes 131 and 17 where it is today.

Acknowledging that Christmas is his favorite holiday, with memories of growing up in downeast Maine, Knight said the business started by taking orders for wreaths at the Winterberry Fair, an annual Christmas fair at the People's United Methodist Church in Union.

"We donate 10 percent to the church on all orders taken prior to and during the Winterberry Fair," he said.

Knight recalled that when he was growing up his parents made wreaths and sold Christmas trees for many years.

"A fun thing for me was, when a customer stopped I would get a dollar if I sold them a tree," he said, explaining that he carried that over to his own children in the current business, and it has really been fun.

"Even though the kids are grown now, they still laugh as they go out to sell a tree and remark 'I get the dollar for this one!'" he said.

A 1947 Dodge truck was added to the business about 15 years ago.

"That has been such a fantastic old truck," Knight said. "It has hauled many trees over the years and has become the identity of the business. When I bring out that old red and black truck, people know we will be opening soon."

Knight said people stand in front of it to take their family Christmas card pictures and photos of picking up the tree. "I have had plenty of chances to sell it over the years, but it is part of the business," he said.

Another part of the business is four-legged Cedar. The dog is a fixture in the shop where Knight's daughter, Melyssa Knight, and Rebecca DeSimone assemble a variety of wreaths.

Other family members who lend a hand are sons Eric and Ethan.

As has been protocol for the past 24 years, all children receive a candy cane upon their visit to the stand.

"What is so cool now is that we have young families coming back with their kids to get a tree and a candy cane," Knight said.

Selling nearly 300 balsam fir trees and about the same number of wreaths each year is not all Knight's shop does.

"A few years ago, one of my customers approached me and said, 'Look, we have some new and very easily used toys. Would you like them?'"

The customer asked if Knight maybe knew a family that could use them.

"I had no idea what to expect," Knight said, adding that the customer showed up with a pickup truck full of toys, games, a rocking horse, and much more, and because he had no idea what to do with it all, he called Debbie and Don Hastings, who own the shop Knight rents out each year.

Debbie came right over and even brought more toys from their grandson.

"We set up a free area in the shop and gave it all away," Knight said. "A new tradition was born -- people come, the kids 'shop,' parents too. They take a few things and bring a few back."

Knight said Debbie manages the free tables every year and, of course, being Mrs. Christmas, she always makes sure there are things for the kids.

Another special touch the shop offers are used tree stands for free.

"About three years ago, I went to the transfer station here in Union and one of the guys said they get all of these Christmas-tree stands in after Christmas," he said. Knight said they start out with 30 to 40 stands every year and there are not many left at the end.

"Santa makes sure they get a cookie plate for their effort," he said, thanking the transfer station workers for all they do to make Christmas better for many.

Speaking of the jolly fella, Santa will be at the shop Saturday, Dec. 8, from 9 a.m. to noon, and visitors are welcome to stop by for coffee, donuts and a visit.

Abraham's Trees and Wreaths is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., by appointment at 712-1314, or simply stop by and use the honor system drop box. Special wreath orders and shipping are also available.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

Seasonal business helps make fond holiday memories
Enjoying his annual holiday tradition, Abraham Knight ties up a customer's purchase at Abraham's Wreaths and Trees in Union Dec. 1. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Melyssa Knight puts the finishing touches on a wreath Dec. 1 while sidekick Cedar wanders around the shop. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Cindy Ostrowski of Hope, center, finds her perfect tree Dec. 1 at Abraham's Wreaths and Trees in Union, while husband Jim, right, and shop owner Abraham Knight look on. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
The Ballou family finds the right Christmas tree for their holiday at Abraham's Wreaths and Trees in Union Dec. 1. From left are: Mara, Natasha, Jacob, Taylor, Kalli and Sawyer Ballou. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Dec 04, 2018 15:24

Great looking trees!



If you wish to comment, please login.