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Local Business

Family business keeps on growing: Customers flock to Christmas tree farm and country store

Donna Holesinger has good reason to smile. The family business has been doing well in recent years. They’ve been selling more trees at Timber Lane Christmas Tree Farm, and the farm’s TLC Country Store has expanded again.
Donna Holesinger has good reason to smile. The family business has been doing well in recent years. They’ve been selling more trees at Timber Lane Christmas Tree Farm, and the farm’s TLC Country Store has expanded again.

FULTON – Some owners worry about the ups and downs of business. For the Holesinger family, ups and downs are Christmas music to their ears. Business goes up when trees come down.

And a lot of trees have been coming down at Timber Lane Christmas Tree Farm.

Bill and Donna Holesinger, who have operated the tree farm at 7250 Garden Plain Road since 2003, sold more trees than ever 2 years ago, so many trees that they renovated their sales area to help accommodate the additional traffic. Last year, they sold 1,700 trees, eclipsing their previous high.

“We started at three or four hundred [trees], so in 10 years it has just exploded,” Donna said of the tree sales over the years. “The last 2 years we’ve increased our tree sales by 100 each year, and that’s a big jump for us.”

But there’s more than just trees at the farm. The TLC Country Store has opened for the season, long before the first flakes fly but just in time for the first leaves to hit the ground. The store, which is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 10, is chock full of autumn decor and more, including scarves, hats, centerpieces and signs, jams, salsas, beets.

Like the tree farm, TLC has been growing, too.

The store’s sales area has been expanded again; a workshop had to be moved to an adjacent building to accommodate the display of more items such as candles, decorations, baby items, hats, scarves, doll clothes, fall and traditional Christmas ornaments, Amish sauces and jams, western-themed items, corn shucks, straw bales, Delft – a type of Dutch pottery and dinnerware – and more.

The relocated workshop was rebuilt along with a work area for preschool students who take field trips to the farm. The new rooms also have improved display areas for wreaths, which are made by Donna. Children now have a warmer indoor space to work on creations such as wreaths and kissing balls – which are like mistletoe balls.

“We take greens from yucky trees and stick them in a ball,” Donna said.

The farm’s Santa House was rebuilt this year, expanded to 20-by-15 feet to accommodate more kids. Santa will be at the farm from noon to 3 p.m. during the first two weekends of December.

And, of course, the children get to tour 22 acres of trees that grow east of the farm, stretching alongside Garden Plain Road.

“We show them our fields,” Donna said. “We got four different varieties of trees and [Bill] will explain the difference in the trees to them. They also get to see the shaker, which shakes out dead the needles, and shows them how to bale the tree to get it in the house.”

Timberlane sells four types of trees: concolor and canaan firs, and scotch and eastern white pines. The canaan firs are the big seller.

“A canaan fir is a short-needled fir that is similar to a frazier fir, which I have a difficult time growing in this area,” Bill said. “A canaan grows very well. That’s kind of our main tree, and it has a good fragrance to it as well.”

Concolor firs have soft needles and emit a citrus-type smell. Scotch pines may not be around for too long, as diseases and bugs have become a problem.

Trees are available pre-cut or one can cut their own; saws and carts are available. The experience of walking through rows of trees to find the right one is something that Judy Holesinger enjoys about it tying into the Christmas spirit.

“A lot of it is the experience of a family together,” said Judy, who, with her husband, Rich, own the farm. “Going out and finding that perfect tree and cutting it down together, instead of taking a tree out of a box, I think that’s very important.”

MORE INFO

Address: 7250 Garden Plain Road, Fulton

Phone: 309-887-4892

Accepts: Cash, check, credit and debit cards

Online: timberlanetreefarm.com and Facebook

Hours: The fall season runs from Oct. 5 until Nov. 10 before closing to reorganize for the Christmas season. The farm reopens on Black Friday and remains open through Dec. 23. During both seasons, the farm is open noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

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