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Christmas Tree Business Reopens at New West End Locale

After a hiatus last year due to Hurricane Sandy, the O'Neill family returns in lot near Minnesota's.

The Christmas tree lot on West Beech, located between Minnesota Avenue and New Hampshire Street, is open for business from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. (Credit: Joe Kellard)
The Christmas tree lot on West Beech, located between Minnesota Avenue and New Hampshire Street, is open for business from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. (Credit: Joe Kellard)

A bonfire rages in a parking lot filled with the aroma of evergreen at the center of the West End. There, Hunter O’Neill heads a family-owned Christmas tree business that relocated this season from their prior lot on the east side of West Beech Street.

“There’s more action over here,” O’Neill said of the new lot that is located across the street from and owned by Minnesota’s. “There’s more people walking by.”

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For 18 years O’Neill and his family sold their trees at a lot at Pennsylvania Avenue, but after Hurricane Sandy a dispute with the property owner led them further west. They started to sell their two varieties of trees, Premium Balsam and Fraser Fir, imported from Quebec, Canada, on Nov. 30.    

“They’re one of the hottest trees right now,” O’Neill said of the firs. “They don’t shed and there is a silver tint under their branches.”

The trees start in price at $25 for two-footers and go as high as $150 for any tree 16 feet or taller. Most people purchase 7- to 9-foot trees, said O’Neill, who offers free tree delivery and set-ups.  

Not only does a purchase of any tree come with a free gift, from a box of candy canes to dog biscuits to red ribbons tied to car grills, but two children can to eat a meal for free at Minnesota’s, where O’Neill otherwise earns his keep. Minnesota’s owner, Tom Corning, said it’s a deal he and the O’Neills have run for several holiday seasons.

“Now with the mix up of things we have them right across the street, which makes it easier for families to come, make a night out of it, get dinner and come home with a great holiday tree,” Corning said.  

At the lot, customers can also purchase wreaths that range in size and price from 12 inches for $10 to 48 inches for $80. Grave blankets are sold for $30.

O’Neill estimates that he sells some 1,000 trees a season, but he’s unsure about business post-Sandy. Last year, the hurricane devastated the West End and displaced more than half its resident, effectively wiping out business for the O’Neill family, who live in the neighborhood. This season, many residents are still not living back home. But O’Neill still feels optimistic about the season.

“Holiday spirits are back and it’s great to see people be able to celebrate Christmas back in their homes this year,” he said.

The Christmas tree lot on West Beech, located between Minnesota Avenue and New Hampshire Street, is open for business from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily until Christmas eve.
paul.d.spellman December 05, 2013 at 12:05 PM
First, I would like to say .... And begin.....
Tracey Morgan December 05, 2013 at 12:20 PM
Like shooting fish in a barrel.... too easy
tom brennan December 05, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Joe Kellard this family has a few more businesses they run one you reported on a few years ago this is not a family that should be promoted for anything. brian O neill should be in jail right now if it wasn't for the keystone kops lead by REDFACE mike tagney. but don't worry if you don't have the money for the tree they will give you a loan at 50% interest. and not only will Hunter bring a tree to your house he will sell you a different type of green plant that Mike Tagneys kids also likes to sel
tom brennan December 05, 2013 at 10:52 PM
don't go to Minnesota s as long as they are partnering with this ex con
LB Lover December 07, 2013 at 08:12 AM
Just a reminder before you buy your Christmas tree... http://longbeach.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/long-beach-man-indicted-in-drugs-loansharking-sting
Can Jam Sam December 12, 2013 at 08:36 AM
Shame on you Patch for portraying this family of outlaws like Long Beach's answer to the Swiss Family Robinson. Wasn't it you who published Daddy Brian's mug shot just a few short months ago? Now you're making them out to be a band of friendly do gooder's spreading Christmas joy across the West End? Is Sandy news getting too old and boring for you?  Do you really think people living in Long Beach are so gullible as to believe that sweet Hunter and his Dad make their annual incomes off selling us an over-priced spruce two weeks out of the year? Come on!  Not only should everyone buy their trees elsewhere but I'd also look to have my holiday meal NOT in the restaurant it's partnered up with. Shame on Minnesota's for continuing to get into bed with these gangsters by offering our children free meals. Happy Holidays!
tom brennan December 22, 2013 at 03:46 PM
has mr oneil been sent to prison Amy?
amynyc1 December 23, 2013 at 10:57 AM
@Tom Brennan , Did Giget really go to Rome with Moon Doggie ? Thats my ?
tom brennan December 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM
oh amy Mr oneil has been a criminal his whole life and has put his family in danger a few times if you support him you are a fool.
tom brennan January 05, 2014 at 05:33 PM
amy any thoughts on Mr oneil putting him family in danger?
amynyc1 January 12, 2014 at 01:26 PM
As for being a fool …The jester or fool was much more than an entertainer, but an essential adviser to the king's court.
Laura January 12, 2014 at 04:16 PM
This scumbag sells drugs to our kids. Are you kidding?
tom brennan January 12, 2014 at 06:20 PM
amy have the police raided his home twice? has he been sent to prison? did he get very lucky this time because Mike Tangney and his keystone kops messed up the last investigation? if you have a family and your home is raided once I think its important to change your ways and not have it happen again
tom brennan January 14, 2014 at 06:03 PM
was that the first time his home was raided? that ans is NO. has he been found guilty of other crimes? that ans is YES. has he spent time in prison? that ans is yes
amynyc1 January 14, 2014 at 10:51 PM
Who cares ?
Hamburger January 15, 2014 at 06:54 AM
The trees would be a good place to hide substances

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