STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — As much pride as Wayne Segale takes in providing Christmas trees to businesses in the Stockton area, he’s better known for his Christmas tree lot that his family started years ago.
Segale’s dad and uncle started wholesaling trees cut on their property in Calaveras County. He helped as a kid, but only got into the business as a young newlywed.
“We needed a refrigerator, so I said, ‘Dad, can you front me a few trees? I think I can get in with a nursery, which is right across the street,’” Segale told FOX40.
He got his refrigerator.
“And damned if my dad didn’t send me a bill after we sold them all, too,” Segale said.
He’s had a lot at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Douglas Road for 62 years, but he couldn’t risk the money to open this year during a lockdown and for health concerns:
“The virus and being a diabetic,” Segale told FOX40. “Goodbye, Charlie.”
It’s something Segale says he will miss.
“Nicest people, and you miss the little kids,” he said. “We had three to four generations we took care of.”
Herb Gottschalk is decorating the Lincoln Village tree and usually shops at Segale’s lot. He says it’s a loss for the community.
“He donates trees all the time; I’ve even delivered a few for him. Hopefully, he’ll be back next year,” Gottschalk said.
Segale is counting on it.
“It’s in my blood. Don’t tell anybody,” Segale said, with a chuckle.
Although Segale’s lot won’t be open this year in Stockton, his business partner will open a lot at the Grape Festival Fairgrounds in Lodi this season.