David, current owner of Tom Mitts Christmas Trees, acquired the business in the summer of 2017 after Tom Mitts passed away unexpectedly after heart surgery. David has been working for Tom at the tree lots since the young age of 8. David’s fathers, Jim, also worked at the tree lot when Don owned the lot, see below. David is currently working as a full time Firefighter/Paramedic in NKY. David is happily married to his wife Emily and a proud father to 5 Daughters with one on the way and 1 Son. David is continuing the tree lot tradition as Tom Mitts Christmas Tress at the Newport location with the help of long time employee Andy. Andy and his wife Starr have been working the lot for several years and have now allowed for their children to help on the lot. Please enjoy the entire history below and be sure to visit David and Andy on the lot.
Tom Mitts was a life-long Newport resident and a Fine Artist when not selling Christmas trees. Tom began his involvement with the Christmas tree business as a youth in the 1970s. He worked for two brothers, Don and Del Breeden, who both sold trees and who also had carnival concessions. After graduating from Newport high school he left the area to study Physics and art at Centre College in Danville, KY; and LSU in Baton Rouge, LA. He returned home after completing his studies and ran a few small tree lots in the early 90s for Don Breeden. He became the manager of the Erlanger tree lot for a decade, and then became full owner in 2004 when Don passed away. Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso asked Tom to take over his Christmas tree business on Monmouth Street in Newport's business district in 2008. In 2010 we opened two lots in Florence and in Newport. After many years with 2 lots we where unable to sell trees in Florence. We reduced the lot to 1 lot and kept it in the historic location we remain today.
Erlanger Tree Lot History 1967 - 1997. Don Breeden, who was like a stepfather to me, began selling Christmas Trees in Erlanger in the late 1960s. The first Erlanger location was in a vacant lot next to the Colonial Cottage Restaurant on Dixie Highway . This lot became the Kenton County Library and is currently a Carpetland store. In 1977 we moved across the street to the Erlanger Town Center (AKA Van Leunens) and remained there 20 years until the Bank of Kentucky was built. For a few years we were in the middle of the lot until Gold’s Gym opened (now Urban Active). Our last location at the Erlanger Town Center was at the Putt Putt Golf Course, from 2001 -2006. At the last minute we were told we could not set up in 2007 at the Putt Putt due to franchise agreements with Putt Putt Inc. In short, the franchisee must have as much dedicated Putt Putt only parking as there is Putt Putt golf course space - even when it closed for the season. Given the size of the lot we just could not fit in. Additionally due to the growth of the Erlanger Town Center there simply was no longer room for us there where we had been for 30 years. Fortunately, at the last minute, because of the kindness of the Gillespies’ property owner we were able to find a temporary space that year on Dixie Highway. However during the final days of the 2007 season we were notified by Erlanger zoning that we could no longer sell trees on Dixie Highway. The reason for the move from Erlanger was due to a zoning change that barred Christmas trees sales on Dixie Highway. Unable to find a lot in the zoned area of Erlanger, we moved after 40 years in the area.
An opportunity arose to take over Peluso's established tree lot and we moved to Newport.
For our Newport customers, I am proud to be the new manager of Peluso's Christmas Trees. Peluso's have been selling trees since 1934 at their Grocery store and adjoining lot.
Peluso Christmas Trees Newport History - The Pelusos have been selling Christmas Trees at their store and adjoining lot since 1934. It has been a multi-generational business handed down from father to son. The most recent operator has been Jerry Peluso who took over the operation from his father, Jimmy, in 1984, who received the business from his father, John, before him. Jerry Peluso has recently been elected Mayor of Newport. He decided to get out of the tree business to concentrate on his mayoral duties . Jerry decided to let Tom Mitts, a life-long Newport resident and seasoned tree lot operator, take over the operation of the lot in 2008. Peluso's Groceries on Monmouth street continues under the direction of Jerry's mother, Frances maintaining the tradition of selling loose Christmas Candies and Nuts. This is a definite "must do" on your visit to the Christmas tree lot.
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