Saturday, November 18, 2017
News Roundup

Christmas tree business grows into five Tampa Bay locations

RECOMMENDED READING


'Tis the season for Christmas tree tents.

They'll show up in parking lots of retail stores, near intersections, or maybe the trees will just lean against the concrete of a grocery store to avoid the still-hot Florida sun.

However, Mike and Cathy Roberts strive for something different.

Now in its 16th season, Mike's Christmas Trees has thrived in Tampa Bay. Since setting up their first tent in 2000, the Roberts family has grown its business to five locations in Tampa Bay — Riverview, Gibsonton, New Port Richey, Lutz and New Tampa.

In an industry where many "grower direct" tree tents come and go, they credit their success to their research and selection when it comes to tree farming.

"We look for the shape, the contour and uniformity," said co-owner Mike Roberts. "We only end up bringing down the top 2 percent of what we have to bring to the five locations.

"There's a lot that goes into learning the chemicals needed to kill bugs and how to grow certain types of trees, just like animal farming."

For them, 16 years of competing against artificial trees and keeping customers hasn't been a difficult task.

"People come back and tell us, 'You're our family tradition,' and we tell them, 'Guess what, you're our family tradition, and this is what we do for Christmas,'" co-owner Cathy Roberts said. "The people that chose our trees are getting quality to the point where they don't even think about a fake tree that will end up in a landfill. You just have to find a tree that's been properly taken care of."

With such longevity, comes some wisdom when it comes to picking the perfect Christmas tree. Mike and Cathy Roberts say it all comes down to how the tree has been cared for and personal preference.

"As far as picking a tree, you just need to make sure it's been kept in water and shade and that it doesn't shed a lot," Mike Roberts said. "All trees will shed a little bit, but you can tell by pulling on a branch."

The couple says they have a tree for everyone in their supply of seven different species, and there is no shortage of people coming to find a specific tree.

"We try to bring something down for everybody, whether it's the big traditional types or the fat little Hershey-Kiss types of trees, or even the big linear, majestic European types that ornament collectors tend to look for," Cathy Roberts said.

This year's trendy tree is the Fraser fir.

Soon, the couple will return to Michigan to work on next years' supply of trees, but not without first acknowledging that they might have tree sap coursing through their veins.

"Well, I don't know about my veins but it sure does cover my arms by the end of the day," Cathy Roberts said.

Contact Kelsey Sunderland at [email protected]

Comments
Bucs’ belief Jameis Winston has been shaken

Bucs’ belief Jameis Winston has been shaken

TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.But the belief the Bucs ...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh: Who would you rather have?

Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh: Who would you rather have?

In the crowd-pleasing sports-talk of game of "Who Would You Rather Have?’’ there might not be a more perfect match-up than this.Gerald McCoy vs. Ndamukong Suh.Both are defensive tackles. Both went to, what were at the time, Big 12 schools. Both were ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first? Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.Both figured to be highly productive NFL players. S...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa police: Drunk wrong-way driver caused major crashes on Courtney Campbell Causeway

Tampa police: Drunk wrong-way driver caused major crashes on Courtney Campbell Causeway

TAMPA — Police arrested a 26-year-old man they say drove the wrong way while drunk and caused a multi-vehicle crash Friday on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.Collin John Cole faces two counts of driving under the influence causing serious bodily injur...
Updated: 1 hour ago

AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young dead at 64

NEW YORK (AP) — Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist and guiding force behind the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, has died. He was 64. AC/DC announced the death on their official Facebook page and website Saturday. The posts did not say when or where...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Greg Auman has a final preview of Sunday’s Bucs-Dolphins game in Miami in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.He talks about key matchups to watch for, from perhaps the NFL’s best slot receiver in Jarvis Landry, to Miami’s vulnerabilities at right tackl...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

TAMPA — Why should we believe this man?Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL concerning an allegation of him groping a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March 2016.Winston denied the allegations Friday in a statem...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Romano: Hunting for a deadly needle in the Seminole Heights haystack

Romano: Hunting for a deadly needle in the Seminole Heights haystack

During the day, you hear from the psychics and the kooks. The well-intentioned tipsters, and the unsolicited profilers. This is all part of serial killer spillover, a sort of cottage industry of macabre.It gets tougher at night when you’re hounded by...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Possible wrong-way crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday

TAMPA — A multi-vehicle crash on the Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday may have been caused by a driver traveling in the wrong direction, Tampa police said.The crash occurred in the eastbound lanes closer to the Tampa side of the causeway, near ...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/18/17