Relocation of Chesterfield Christmas Tree Business Has Some on Pins and Needles
A longtime seasonal tree stand is requesting to move its location, but some local businesses worry it will take away their business.
A debate over the location of a temporary Christmas tree stand has some concerned there won't be enough seasonal spending to go around.
Russ Mangiapane Jr., a co-owner of his family's business called Mangiapane Trees, said he wants to start selling his trees around Nov. 13 to Christmastime instead of on Thanksgiving to late December, as the seasonal permit mandates. The business is also requesting to relocate from the Kroger parking lot on 23 Mile to the Premier Lanes plaza because the construction of a credit union in the old location.
But, when the request went before the Chesterfield Township Board of Trustees last week, some felt the new destination would adversely affect permanent businesses, such as local nurseries.
The board decided to table the matter until the next meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 in municipal offices for Mangiane to answer questions in person. He was not present at the previous meeting and, if he does not show at the next one, his request will not be approved, the board decided.
“I don’t see why there’s a problem," Mangiapane told Patch afterward. "I mean, most of my customers, they're repeat customers. It's not like I'm taking people's customers away. We've been there for 20 years, so everybody knows us."
He said they've even sold before to the local nurseries, such as Meldrum Brothers Nursery and Supply, Van Thomme's Greenhouses and others. Some township officials pointed out other larger businesses, such as Lowe's and Home Depot are also in the Christmas tree market in town. His business also sells wreaths and grave blankets.
However, Treasurer Linda Hartman said at the board meeting of the requested relocation, "I think that is harmful and burden to our local businesses."
Van Thomme's Greenhouses owner Blase Van Thomme agreed.
"Every business in Chesterfield is having a hard time—everyone," Van Thomme said. "Issuing this permit will only make it harder on businesses."
Others, such as Clerk Jan Uglis and Supervisor Michael Lovelock pointed out that Mangiapane is, in fact, a township resident whose family has been doing seasonal business for two decades in the community.
"If it was another business or a new one coming in, I would say 'absolutely not,'" Uglis said.
She said the tree business has a good track record with the public and township.
"They're used to getting the permit from us."
The township permit for the seasonal stand costs $100 up front, with half of that available for refund, she said.
Mangiapane said his family business sells about 700 trees grown on their Cadillac property each season at wholesale and at the temporary business on 23 Mile.
The issue at the board meeting brought up the notion of seasonal businesses possibly taking away money from permanent proprietors.
"We're looking at some of these changes," Uglis said at the meeting. "We're going to try to stop it."
She later said, in particular, temporary business stands that sell items, such as flowers on Sweetest Day, alongside busy roads without permission from the township need regulation. However, fireworks stands around July 4 most likely will not be banned from operating because they don't violate any particular laws when properly obtaining permits, Uglis said.