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Lions Christmas tree sale in full swing

By Staff | Dec 9, 2015

The old Bailey’s gas station at 2477 Periwinkle Way. BRIAN WIERIMA

The old Bailey’s gas station at 2477 Periwinkle has a new scent emanating out of the garage, smelling like fresh evergreen trees.

No, it’s not an overstocked order of car fresheners being stored there, but instead the real, refreshing scent of freshly cut evergreen trees, ready to be sold by the Sanibel Lions Club for the upcoming Christmas season.

The Lions Christmas Tree sale is in full swing, which just after Thanksgiving and will run through Dec. 23. But the Lion’s biggest fundraiser, which netted nearly $14,000 last year to help fund all the various projects the non-profit organization run, has some new digs and all for the better.

This year’s sale will be at the old Bailey’s gas station just off of Periwinkle before the Tarpon Bay intersection for the first time. Bailey’s general manager Richard Johnson, who is also a member of the Lions Club, generously offered the old gas station for the site to sell the Christmas trees.

“It’s wonderful having this location because now we have a roof over our heads,” said Lions member and one of the volunteers who man the site Duane Janikula. “Ever since 2007, we were between Bailey’s and the movie theater underneath the open sky. And every once so often, some of our trees would go missing, so I guess someone else needed it more than us.”

The Lions shift workers from Tuesday, Dec. 1, manning the Christmas tree stand at the old Bailey’s gas station, included Henry Glissman, Don Howard, Peter Barone and Duane Janikula. BRIAN WIERIMA

With 285 different sizes of trees being delivered from Michigan, they are now safely tucked away in the gas station’s garage. Customers can now easily drive up to the gas station, park and pick up their Christmas trees.

“We are open seven days a week, with two shifts manning the store,” Janikula said. “We are here to help.”

There are five different sizes of trees one can choose from, starting with six-footers ($60) and going to seven-foot ($70), eight-foot ($80), nine-foot ($90) and 10-foot ($120).

The Lions also offer evergreen wreaths, which go for $25 and two different sizes of tree stands.

“We also deliver for an extra $10,” Janikula added.

Don Howard trims off a portion of the trunk of a Christmas tree, while Henry Glissman helps out. BRIAN WIERIMA

The Christmas tree site is manned by two volunteer crews, the first from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the second from 2-6 p.m. They will trim an inch or two off the end of the trunk so the best absorption rate can be had by the tree, so to make it last longer.

“Our trees are high end, as well,” Janikula said.

The trees nearly sell out on an annual basis and these 285 count should be no exception.

“We already have been pretty busy, so if you want your pick, come on it,” Janikula said. “By Dec. 23, we’ll have under a dozen left.”

The Lions’ trees best customers are many of the Sanibel residents, but as well as the businesses which decorate their places up.

Don Howard and Peter Barone check out the recorded sales of Christmas trees, which all profits go to the Lions Club of Sanibel. BRIAN WIERIMA

“We are thankful to Richard (Johnson), because the accessibility is so much easier and we are much more visible from Periwinkle,” Janikula said.

Alex Sotolonoyo, who works at Casa Ybel, carries one of three Christmas trees bought for the facility last Tuesday afternoon. BRIAN WIERIMA