Oh, Christmas tree
I worked on a story about Christmas tree salesmen from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan who live in a parking lot in Oak Park for one month every year. The family-owned business can actually profit more by traveling several hundred miles to sell their product near the big city pocketbooks of Chicago. So they pack up a few hundred trees, hitch up a camper and head south.
The story is specifically about Joe Dombrowski, 42, Justin Dombrowski, 20, and Corey Tourangeau, 29, and how they become Oak Parkers once a year on a temporary basis. They eat and sleep in the camper, sell trees to families who know them by name and two days before Christmas, pack up and head back home. I shot photographs of them working to keep the lot clean, peeking out of a tent as they waited for customers, dealing with a snowstorm and even eating a late meal after a long day’s work.