Kohl's Stony Hill Tree Farm and Christmas Shoppe
Passion is a powerful thing. Passion moves us; fills us; overwhelms us, and can lead our minds and actions to do great things. It can be part of our DNA or it can find us – or let us discover it as we move down the path we call Life. This is a story about a family whose passion has led to a successful business that helps create family traditions – especially around the Holiday Season, Kohl’s Stony Hill Tree Farm & Christmas Shoppe in Milton, PA.
In the summer of 1983, Stanley Kohl, Sr. felt that Stanley Jr. just didn’t have enough to keep him occupied during December when his regular job was not as busy. Now we all know that idle hands are the devil’s tools, so Senior bought 2000 trees and planted them in the field behind his house. Junior’s Decembers became busy. In November of 1986, Stan Jr., convinced his fiancée, Nancy, to buy his Dad’s family farm. The barn was in good shape, the house was “iffy” and the fields, well as you can guess…were stony hills. By that time they had 3000 Blue Spruce and Douglas Fir Trees. About 200 of these were in decent shape so off to Kohl’s Market they went to sell for $5.00 a piece – not bad for the cost of a tree but not good for paying the bills. However, it was a start. Over the next few years Stan Jr. and Nancy added more items and services including handmade wreaths, baling the trees for easier customer transportation, and drilling holes in the bottom of the trees for pin tree stands.
With the success of their wreaths, more and more needed to be produced and delivered to, not only Kohl’s Market, but also to the Sunbury Market House, the Lewisburg Farmers Market and the Route 15 Flea Market. A used camping trailer was soon purchased to transport their ever-increasing wreath inventory. With demand continuing to increase, they soon purchased a 24’ enclosed trailer to deliver their wreaths safely to market. During this time period the wreaths were made in the basement. But soon the basement was too small. In 1996, an addition was built onto their house which included a garage to expand their wreath-making space. And in 2002, a 5000 square foot 2 story building behind the original barn was built to house their successful wreath-making operation.
To set themselves apart from other Christmas Tree sellers, they decided to sell ornaments in their new shop. The first year offered 1,000 different ornaments for sale. In 2005, Stan Jr. started to collect Christmas Tree Stands. There are now over 700 unique and antique Christmas Tree Stands on display throughout their shop. With continued success of the shop and all their services, space became tighter and tighter. In April of 2012 they began construction of a new 7,000 square foot addition to their Christmas Shoppe, which included bathrooms and a ramp to the second floor. With the addition of more ornaments every year, the Christmas Shoppe is now home to more than 80,000 ornaments!
New in 2013, Kohl’s has opened an a-MAZE-ing seven-acre corn maze with 3.6 miles of pathways. The maze will be open on weekends from September through the first weekend in November. In October, they will also have a pumpkin patch to pick your perfect jack-o-lantern pumpkin and ½ hour fall hayrides on country roads around the farm and across an historic covered bridge.
Their annual Open House is held the weekend after Thanksgiving. Santa will be there on Saturday with door prizes and free Kohl’s Stony Hill Tree Farm Ornaments to the first 50 who buy trees.
Kohl’s Stony Hill Tree Farm & Christmas Shoppe has come a long way from its initial start with 2,000 trees; wreaths made by hand in their basement and 1,000 ornaments showcased in their 5000 square foot shop. Today, this family-owned and run business boasts over 30,000 trees, over 70,000 ornaments, and a 12,000 square foot Christmas Shoppe. With “slow Decembers” just a dim part of Stan Jr.’s past; the Kohl family’s passion fuels their desire to help provide family traditions that last a lifetime and help customers have a better Christmas than the year before. Stan Senior must be very proud!
- In the early years, wreaths were first made by hand, then manually with a pedal type machine. This was very hard on the hands and legs – especially with the increasing demands for more wreaths. With the price of air-operated machines so high, Stan Junior’s ingenuity and craftsmanship allowed him to build his own. They now have 13 air-operated machines to produce all their wreaths.
- Kohl’s Stony Hill Tree Farm & Christmas Tree Shoppe gives back to their community by providing wreaths to “Wreaths for Warriors”, doing fund-raisers for different organizations and helping out the Danville Future Farmers of America.
- Wreaths cannot be made until several good frosts have occurred to make sure the branches and needles remain sturdy for long-lasting display.
- Wreath production at Kohl’s begins in early November and the best selection will be the first week of December.
- The week before Thanksgiving is the best time to purchase or cut-your-own tree.
- Stan Junior’s collection of tree stands started with his Great Aunt Lena who had 4 to 5 stands from the ‘50’s and ‘60’s when she passed. Stan Junior checks out the Internet 2-4 times a week in search of tree stands for his collection. He now has over 700 tree stands from all over the world, with some dating back to the 1800’s.
- Their ornament collections include such themes as college sports teams, pro sport teams, Nascar racing, John Deer, Armed Forces, musical instruments, occupations, dance & gymnastics, sports that include football, baseball, golf, swimming, wrestling, lacrosse, cheerleading, soccer, plus snowmen, cartoon characters, and Disney characters – just to name a few!