Our family business, Sober’s Trees located in New Cumberland, has been in business for 55 years.
We, Curtis and Ken Sober, have been co-owners for 10 years.
Sober’s Trees dates back to our grandfather John H. Hommer from Glasgow, PA, who started in business as a timber cutter in 1918. Later, he and his father built their own sawmill where they lumbered the virgin white pine trees that grew in central Pennsylvania. Grandpap Hommer later started a lumber yard where he became very successful selling lumber and building products in central Pennsylvania. Later in his life he started growing Christmas trees as a hobby. He used to say he “just liked to watch the trees grow.” Grandpap Hommer sold Christmas trees along the east coast and shipped trees as far south to Florida. In 1960 he needed wholesale customers. He he talked our father Nelson Sober, a carpenter at the time, into selling trees. Since December is a slow month in the construction business, Nelson agreed to sell 100 trees. He sold them for $2.50, $3.50 and $4.50 each. From then on, he sold Christmas trees every December. Dad used to wear a red hunting suit and was known as the man in the red suit.
As we grew up, our family was always involved in the Christmas tree business. We, along with our father, our mother (Joan Sober), and our sister (Jenny Setlak) all faithfully did our part to support this family tradition. We all have enjoyed getting to know our customers, and helping them select their perfect Christmas tree. It has been hard work every year, but very rewarding as we see the smiles, knowing that the tree we are tying on the customer’s car will bring joy and beauty to their family and friends. This is a very satisfying business to be part of every year, especially for 55 years.
When my grandfather retired from the tree business, Nelson bought a farm in Perry county Pennsylvania. We planted our first trees in the spring of 1979 and have been growing trees at the farm ever since. There have been many learning experiences growing Christmas trees, such as learning what a three-point hitch is on a tractor, welding broken equipment, and fighting the insects, deer, and molds that attack the trees. Although it is very hard work, we find that it comes to be a very rewarding experience for everyone involved.
Christmas trees have been with us from early childhood. We have used the business experience in high school, college projects, and even on a job interview where the VP of sales and marketing wanted to review a Christmas tree marketing project, and it helped land the job.
This business has helped us stay close as a family. Ken, his wife Shanna and their two daughters, Lauren and Morgan as well as Curt, his wife Gail and their daughter Kendra can all be found at the New Cumberland tree lot selling trees.
If you would ever want to talk with us on any aspect of growing or selling Christmas trees, please stop by. We are always happy to share our experiences and knowledge of the past 55 years.
Have a Merry Christmas!
Co-Owners Curtis and Ken Sober and the Sober Family.