BURLINGTON — Ken and Mary Joyner took a leap of faith 12 years ago when they planted a crop of Christmas trees. The Joyners never knew if they sell would a single tree.
“When the first 500 trees were planted we thought if we don’t sell any Christmas trees we’ll at least have some nice pine trees,” Ken Joyner said.
Eight years later, Cruise-In Trees opened and sold 60 trees to families. Today Mary and Ken Joyner have around 6,000 trees, varying in stages of growth.
About 10 acres are used to grow the Scotch Pine, Canaan Fir, Blue Spruce and Concolor Fir trees. The trees vary in sizes up to 14 feet, Ken Joyner said. Trees, instead of being sold by the size, are sold by the species.
“The idea is to have families come out and make traditions and memories,” Mary Joyner said.
When someone visits Cruise-In Trees they will be greeted with an opportunity to take a wagon ride to pick out a Christmas tree. The tree is then cut down and brought back to visitors’ vehicles.
The family-owned business, located 3 miles west of Burlington at 4725 S. 400 E., Cutler, has grown since it first opened. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays from the weekend after Thanksgiving up until Christmas.
A variety of the trees people buy are 7 to 8 feet tall, though someone want trees that are 12 feet tall.
But trees aren’t the whole deal. The business also includes a gift shop with handmade ornaments and crafts from local artists. Mary Joyner even makes handmade pine wreaths to sell in the gift shop.
Mary’s favorite part of the business is seeing little kid’s eyes light up when they visit. She also enjoys welcoming multi-generational families.
Maintaining a Christmas tree farm is a year-round job, Ken Joyner said. Between 500 and 800 trees are planted each year. Along with owning a Christmas tree business, Ken Joyner is an emergency room nurse at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Lafayette and Mary Joyner is a factory nurse at Caterpillar.
“At first we had all these doubts wondering if this was going to take off,” Ken Joyner said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
Six people help out on the weekend.
The job doesn’t feel too much like work in November and December because the customers are happy, Ken Joyner said.
About 600 people have visited Cruise In Trees this year. When visitors arrive at Cruise In Trees they will see the younger trees in the front. A wagon ride takes people to the larger trees. Visitors can also walk among trees if they want.
Ken and Mary are very passionate about the business and are looking to make the business handicap accessible.
“If there is any way we can help your family celebrate Christmas, we will,” Ken Joyner said.
Cruise-In Trees Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday or by appointment. Ken and Mary Joyner can be reached at 765-566-2350. The business is 3 miles west of Burlington Ind. at 4725 S. 400 E., Cutler. The website can be found at www.cruiseintrees.com.