The performance at retail is still up in the air for the Christmas season, but tree purveyors at Waterfront Park feel confident.
On November 28, the fifth annual “Christmas Tree Lane” will open for business and Louisvillians will enjoy a continuing tradition of purchasing their Christmas Trees downtown at Louisville Waterfront Park. Local vendors Tommy Thompson and Gary Jecker look forward to another very successful year selling many varieties of trees, wreaths and other holiday greenery. Both vendors anticipate that the time-honored tradition of the family tree will outshine concerns for a slow economy. More families are expected to remain home this holiday season and holiday decorating will play an important role in Louisville holiday cheer. “Christmas trees have special meaning to a family with children,” said Tommy Thompson. “Families pull together during difficult times and, while it doesn’t necessarily matter what goes under the tree, the tree itself has special significance to family and they are more important now than ever,” said Gary Jecker.
Both vendors were formerly located at the Haymarket. Louisville Medical Center Development Corporation purchased the Haymarket property in 2003, and at that time, a longstanding Louisville tradition of purchasing trees downtown was momentarily displaced.
The Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation met with vendors in 2003 when news of the Haymarket closing surfaced. There was such an interest in continuing the tradition of purchasing holiday trees downtown, both from the public and the actual vendors, that WDC made space available to the vendors for their operations. The market was relocated to Witherspoon Street at Waterfront Park in 2004. “The vendors are good tenants and bring welcome activity during the off season, helping Waterfront Development Corporation’s mission of keeping the park alive year round,” said Ashley Cox, Event Manager at Waterfront Park.
Two vendors will operate at “Christmas Tree Lane” this year, and together they have over 80 years of experience. Gary Jecker has operated his family Christmas tree business for 29 years. His sons help him sell Frazier Fir from North Carolina, and both White & Scotch Pine that he grows locally.
Tommy Thompson operates his family business that is over 50 years old; his father started selling Christmas Trees in the 1950s. Tommy Thompson’s market is the largest market of the former Haymarket. He has a wide variety of trees and is well known for selling very large trees. His market features Scotch Pine, White Pine, Frazier Fir, Balsam Fir, and varieties from North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Vermont. Tommy sells door charms, small trees, and a wide variety of wreaths that vary in size from 8” up to 48”. Tommy also sells more garland than anyone else in the state, including White Pine and Frazier Fir.
“Christmas Tree Lane” is located along both sides of Witherspoon Street between Preston (near Slugger Field) and Brook. The vendors are open from Friday, November 28, through Christmas between the hours of 8am and 8pm, daily. Free parking is available for customers along Witherspoon Street, in the Green Parking Lot at Waterfront Park (underneath 1-64 overpass near corner of River Road & Preston), and in the surface parking lot across from the Great Lawn.