For 16 years, Lou Hannum and his family have been selling their locally-grown Christmas trees in the Gallatin Valley Mall parking lot. Lou says he is proud to be the only vendor in Gallatin County to sell Christmas trees that were grown in the state of Montana. "I have no 'off season'", Lou chuckles, "as soon as February comes around I start prepping my seedlings". Lou and his wife care for their trees all year long at their ranch in Trout Creek, Montana.
Tuscor Ranch got their start in the cattle business. Lou shares, “It just wasn’t making enough money. We realized our biggest income from the ranch was selling timber. One thing lead to another and we thought, why not Christmas trees!"
They began selling trees 20 years ago in the Gibson's parking lot. When the store closed, they found their way to the Gallatin Valley Mall. For the past 16 years, Lou has built a quite a customer base at the mall. Families return year after year to buy the freshest, most authentic trees in the valley.
"The most wonderful part, I tell you, is the returning customers", says Lou. "There's so darn many of them. There is one family who has returned every single year". "They have nine kids; it's been pretty cool to see them grow up. And now they bring their own kids, it's a traditional thing".
Lou said he's looking forward to spending time with his family on Christmas. "And then it's back to work growing next year's trees"!