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A group of college students in Arizona may have a solution to take the hassle out of the holidays. The Arizona State University students started the Ahwatukee Christmas tree removal business three years ago while freshman.
PHOENIX, Ariz. — Many Americans are packing away their holiday decorations for another year, but figuring out what to do with the old Christmas tree can be difficult. A group of college students in Arizona has been pushing a solution to take the hassle out of the holidays — and their enterprise is growing.
Connor Hogan and his friend Dillon Newgaard started the business three years ago while freshmen at Arizona State University, later recruiting two more friends. The company, Ahwatukee Christmas Tree removal, was named for their village in Phoenix.
“We realized we had this great opportunity to help folks in our community. We helped our parents remove their trees and we said, you know, why not help other folks? We’re well-bodied college individuals that want to make a little bit of cash on the side. We’re smart entrepreneurs. Why don’t we go out and start our own little business?” Hogan said.
They started off with just 17 trees in their first year. Now juniors, they said they had almost 300 bookings this year. “We’ve definitely grown a lot, so we are expecting around 200-300 which is double and more than double than last year,” Newgaard said.
Ahwatukee crew picking up a Christmas tree. (Stephanie Bennett / Fox News)
They’ve aimed to remove every last branch and needle for about $25, picking up each tree either from the curb or inside the home.
“It’s heavy and it’s awkward to carry out and it makes a big trail of needles… so it’s nice that’s there’s someone who can come take care of that for us,” customer Rachel Martin said.
However, not everyone has been branching out; some people in the city have preferred to keep doing the job themselves. The city has offered several options for recycling Christmas trees.
“We’ve always dropped it off. It’s easy, it’s free, it’s close by, you know, to save the money and spend it on something else, I guess,” Lupie Sanchez of Phoenix said.
Christmas trees at a Phoenix dropoff location. (Stephanie Bennett / Fox News)
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The Ahwatukee crew is almost completely booked up through Jan. 11, right before the students head back to school.
“It’s great when you get to do it and help out with your friends and have fun, make a little cash and help a lot of people out in the community,” said Morgan Taylor, a senior at the University of Washington.
A tree shredder in action at a dropoff location. (Stephanie Bennett / Fox News)
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New this year, they were able to donate six fully decorated Christmas trees to families in need. A local tree farm donated the trees, and Hogan and his crew paid for the rest. It’s something they said they hoped to continue.
“It was something we definitely look forward to doing in the future and I really think that gives our business a lot of purpose,” Hogan added.
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