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.

5 Responses to “Oh, Christmas tree”

  1. Nice photos. We used to buy our tree from a Wisconsin family that did the same thing.

  2. We write them boys a check every year!

  3. Miss you, Corey, and it’s nice to see your home-away-from-home! Happy Holidays….Mom ❤

  4. This batch of phots, as with so many on this site, shows so clearly why Jason Geil behind a camera results in something to behold. I visited this site today because I was looking at some sports photos from the Super Bowl and thinking, “I wonder how J-Geil would have shot that came?” and then this morning I looked at a certain hotshot newspaper’s photo gallery of a basketball game last night and wondered the same thing again. Jason, your images remain as they always were, well composed, that is technically on the mark, but more importantly, they tell stories and they have a lot of heart and humanity. Splendid work.

  5. Thanks so much, Mark. I really, really appreciate that!

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