Local Pumpkin Patch, Christmas Tree business bringing families together | Business
Many locals in the Mid-South area are familiar with Big Jim’s Christmas Trees, a business that also sells pumpkins in October. The trees and pumpkins are sold in parking lots, the business immediately pulls your attention to the side of the road because of a large inflatable Santa or a great pumpkin.
Jimmy Wade, who is also a captain for AirTran, said he loves running this business - but it’s not as easy as you’d think.
“It’s the funnest, hardest work,” said Wade.
He started his business 32 years ago at his Egypt Baptist church in Raleigh and sold Christmas trees for three years.
“People at the church said you’ve given birth to something, it’s yours,” said Wade.
He expanded to other locations and added pumpkins in the mix 16 years ago.
Now, there are four locations of Big Jim’s pumpkin and Christmas tree lots every season which runs from the beginning of September to Christmas. Wade said he used to run eight locations, but it was too much to handle.
The locations are in Lakeland on Highway 64, Bartlett on Stage Road, Cordova on 785 and Midtown on Union Avenue.
There are lots of components to consider when running a pumpkin patch and a Christmas Tree lot. Accorind to Wade, one is trusting the employees.
Union Avenue is where Kenny and Sandra Hendge’s sell pumpkins and Christmas trees for Wade. The couple is retired and stays in the Ike’s parking lot in their RV. Kenny said after the season is over they usually travel around, last year they dug for diamonds.
Wade said Henge’s temporary residency in the parking lot is authorized with Ike’s, he has a full contract with Ike’s for all aspects of his business.
The biggest challenge with the business this year was freight. Stock comes in from Washington and Michigan. Wade said he attends Amish auctions for pumpkins.
Wade said theft is minimal at all locations, and that that most loss comes from pumpkins due to spoilage.
“It’s a long, hard, grueling - but it’s all worth it at the end of the season,” said Wade.
Wade’s son passed away 27 years ago due to a heart defect he had since birth. Wade believes running a pumpkin patch and selling Christmas trees is something his son would be proud of him for doing.
“We help create memories - you can bring your kid and they can pick their own pumpkin, take pictures or ride on a train,” said Wade.
There is not a train at the Midtown location.
Wade said his business provides something different than picking out a pumpkin from a patch rather than a grocery store. He said it’s an experience for the kids as well as the entire family because it can create memories that last a lifetime.
“This, is something I love,” said Wade.