Feisley Tree Farms was the dream of my father, John Pershing Feisley, who in the late 1940’s was a young soil conservation agent in Eastern Ohio. On one of his many farm visits, he met a man who was growing Christmas trees. My father liked the idea so much that is was not long before he was planting trees on the rolling hills of Eastern Ohio. It has been said that, “Every family business needs a family,” and in 1952, John Pershing Feisley married Marian Jean Gorsuch. Mom always joked, “I was married in October and dragging Christmas trees in November.” Mom and Dad continued to expand their business as well as their family. They were blessed with three children: John, Geoff, and Anne. My experience with Christmas trees began at a very young age. As any youngster that grows up on a farm knows, there is no shortage of chores, evening work hours, and summer jobs. Growing up, many a family vacation was planned in conjunction with a state or national Christmas Tree Meeting. My dad played an instrumental part in both organizations.
Feisley Tree Farms continued through the 60’s and 70’s as a wholesale operation. In the late 70’s, while I was still in college, dad retired from Soil and Water Conservation; we expanded the tree business by adding a retail operation in town. The first year was rather hectic, but the following year we moved to a new location and have remained there since. In 1980, I graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelors degree in business and joined Feisley Tree Farms full-time.
In 1986, the “family” business grew again when I married my sweetheart, Theresa Marie Slavik. If that wasn’t enough, 11 months later we welcomed our first son Jacob to be followed 4 years later by our youngest son William. With our welcome additions to our family; Mom got to retire from retail sales to become Gramma and seasonal babysitter. Theresa wasted no time becoming involved in the business by adding a fresh wreath and greens division to our tree sales. This continues to grow with every new year.
Our family has a long standing love of history and preservation, so it was only natural that Theresa and I would restore a 160-year-old farmhouse on one of the farms. Unfortunately, before we could move into our beautiful home, the barn that sat on the property for just as many years was destroyed by fire. Wanting to retain the historical significance of the farm, we embarked on a two-year adventure involving locating, dismantling, moving, and reconstructing a 200-year-old barn on our original site. On May 19, 1998, along with 125 friends and family, we had a barn raising. It is one of our fondest and most rewarding memories. What a perfect location for a Choose and Cut operation… and what a perfect location to raise our family.
Our boys made their contributions to the farm experience by adding a concession stand, which Jacob started when he was just ten. Of course, William had to be involved, so he would take branches from Fraser Fir trees and place them in sections of tree stumps to be sold as “Charlie Brown Trees.”—the perfect bit of Christmas cheer for a college student home for Thanksgiving break. As the Jacob and William grew, they advanced to helping the customers in the field with their trees along with many other tasks–too many to name.
For us, it is and will always be all about family and tradition. One of our favorites is Thanksgiving morning—our only day off in the Christmas season. We wake very early and grab a mug of coffee or cocoa, bundle ourselves up, and take a hayride to pick our trees for our home… notice the plural on trees. To date, we have nine trees in our home, one for every bedroom and living space. Theresa hasn’t added them to the bathrooms… yet! We love coming around every corner to be greeted by something natural and beautiful—no matter the shape. As a matter of fact, we always choose the trees that wouldn’t normally sell, and yet, our friends think that each one is fabulous.
We love sharing experiences and memories with our customers, new and old, and look forward to making new friends and memories as well.
Join us this Christmas Season and “Start your Family Tradition” with Feisley Tree Farms.