Chicago Christmas tree salesmen
Three tree vendors from Wisconsin discuss their seasonal gigs.
Lloyd Gauthier, 55 (4500 N Lincoln Ave)
How did you start selling Christmas trees?
I used to do carnival work in the summer, then I’d work on a farm up at home in Shawano, Wisconsin, harvesting and planting trees. But I got too old for lifting heavy things out of the woods, so I got into selling.
Is it a lonely line of work?
Yup. I do crossword puzzles to kill all the downtime when I’m not cleaning the lot, pruning the trees, making sure all the stands are full.
What type of tree do you most often recommend to customers?
Fraser fir. It’s a beautiful tree, changes color from the top to the bottom. The bottom is light green, the top’s dark green. And it holds its needles longer than other varieties.