After decades making the holidays jolly with Christmas trees for thousands of Montanans, Steve
Adams and his family have decided it’s time to move on to new things.
Steve started selling Christmas trees as a kid, harvesting natural trees off his family property.
As an adult, he and his family built a business that lasted 35 years.
Steve built a small cabin from logs he harvested off his ranch in the Proctor Valley northwest of Somers. Every year, he and his family hauled it to Missoula as part of a merry tree lot. With decorations and a lot full of fresh trees, they created a festive atmosphere where as many as 3,000 families a year came to pick out their trees and handmade wreaths and garlands.
Through the years they had many lots across Montana.
“We had customers that had been with us since the very first year,” Steve says. “Through the
years we sold to three generations — the grandkids were bringing their kids to get a tree.” He credits their success to working hard and providing excellent customer service and fresh, high-quality trees.
Loyal customers came from as far away as Butte, Helena, and Salmon, Idaho, Steve says. Often,
students and others retuning home for the holidays would take a tree with them, to Wyoming or even back east.
“Some of our Oregon trees went back to Oregon,” he laughs. And though they never had a lot in Polson, they furnished many special orders for locals and others right from their ranch.
This was always a family-directed business, involving Steve, his wife Kitt, and their two sons, plus 7-9 seasonal employees.
The Adams family owned their own semi-truck they used to haul freshly cut groomed trees of many popular types from plantations in Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Natural-grown
Douglas-firs, ponderosas, subalpine firs and grand firs were fresh cut from the ranch.
For the Adams family, the Christmas tree business was never all about the money.
“Christmas is an emotional time. Everything is focused on the tree and family togetherness.” Steve tells of one couple who divorced during his years in business, but made it part of the settlement that they had to continue the tradition and get the family together once a year at his lot to pick out a Christmas tree.
“This is one of the most rewarding occupations I could ever do.”