LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On "Kentuckiana Proud", we feature people, places, or even just vibes we find ourselves really proud to talk about.
This week, we're hitting all three when we talk about "Christmas Tree Lane", and the owner who keeps it running.
"They come out of North Carolina, Wisconsin, some out of Michigan," Irvin Book said, referencing a sweeping arm towards his tree lot on E. Witherspoon Street in downtown Louisville.
Book has been selling Christmas trees for 50 years, 15 years at this location.
"Used to be up at Haymarket, everyone wanted to haggle," Book said when asked about how the business has changed over the years.
"It's kinda a dying art now, they don't haggle so much. They still will, but not so many of them do."
"Then we determine if they want a fat one, skinny one, and go from there," he said of the tree buying process, showing us several different offerings. "We don't discriminate."
Lovingly known as "Christmas Tree Lane" two months of the year, the grassy border of a parking lot the other months, Irvin Book is our own version of Santa Claus.
"That's part of the fun, seeing customers that year and year," Book said. "It's a reunion, come and say hello, glad you're still alive."
When Book became the owner, he hadn't planned on ever filling the role.
"I really didn't have no intention ever, and like I said, when Tom died November 15th, 3 years ago, before I finished that year for him, I had no intention to take it over, and the boys at work here they beat on me to do it and customers come and say well somebody gotta do this," Book said.
His longtime friend, Tommy Thompson Jr., owned the stand after his father of the same name. Longtime friends from their teenage years, Book continues to sell for the smiles of his customers.
"I'm really too old for this but someone's gotta do it, I guess it'll be me," he said.
He intends to do just that as long as he can.
"Probably as long as I'm healthy," Book said. When I'm getting up there in age. Every year is different."
Until the time comes, he hopes his customers keep it real and keep coming back.
"It's the only thing that ain't plastic in Christmas anymore."
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