Scotty Claus finds niche renting live trees

When Cheryl and Hal Cook could no longer handle the chore of picking, hauling and setting up a cut Christmas tree, they tried an artificial tree for a few years. They found that the fake version, while convenient, failed to stack up to the real thing.

“I’ve had a live tree my whole life,” said Cheryl Cook, a retiree in Huntington Beach. “Having the smell of (pine) in the home, I missed it so badly.”

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Live tree rentals

Company: The Living Christmas Co.

Headquarters: Redondo Beach

Founder: Scott Martin, also known as “Scotty Claus”

How it works: Customers can pick a live, potted Christmas tree on the company’s website. Crews of “elves” deliver and set the tree up at your residence. After four weeks, the company picks up the tree, which continues to live on at a nursery.

Areas served: Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego and Marin counties.

Cost: From $25 to $250 for a tree. Delivery is extra, about $50 for delivery and pick-up. If a rented tree dies, a customer can be charged the tree’s full retail price. Martin says less than 2 percent of trees come back dead.


Three years ago, the couple switched to …

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