FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Two old friends who share a love for all things Christmas found out that they also shared a common problem when it came to buying a tree — how do you get it home?
Three years ago, Bobby Donofrio of Fairfield said he was out at a Christmas tree farm, enjoying the ritual of cutting his own tree with his family. But after tying the tree to the roof of his car, he found that he couldn’t close its doors.
At another tree farm that same weekend, his friend Greg Robinson of Westport was also having a problem. He put his tree on a sheet on the roof of the car, but it started to move.
“I drove home on 95 holding the tree with my bare hands through the sunroof,” he said.
As they swapped stories, their entrepreneurial spirit kicked in. Both said, “There has to be a better way!” And thus the idea of the Tree Transporter was born.
Donofrio and Robinson’s idea is now a product on the market. It’s out just in time to help you keep the fun in getting a Christmas tree while eliminating the mess, the knot-tying and the fear that your tree will blow off your car on the way home.
The Tree Transporter, a soft-sided reusable carrier, wraps around your evergreen tree, protecting the vehicle from sap and needles and the tree from damage.
You use it to lift the tree onto the car, where it won’t slip off the roof. The adjustable straps, which can be used on any size vehicle, hold it in place.
How easy is it to use? “Simply unroll the Tree Transporter then place, buckle and tighten. Then you are on your way,” the company website says. No knot-tying expertise is required, and it takes only about a minute to secure the tree.
With the tree in place, you can travel home at normal speeds. And then you can use it to carry the tree into the house.
Donofrio and Robinson hope that the Tree Transporter becomes a fixture in the holiday season.
“We have a vision that it will become like the Christmas tree stand — it will become part of the overall Christmas experience,” Donofrio said.
The two developed the product from start to finish — from finding a manufacturer to handling orders and shipping.
“We’re proud that we’ve brought an idea all they way to market — and want to see how it does in the marketplace,” he said.
And even as they work to get the Tree Transporter into the marketplace, both men are looking forward to the Christmas holidays with their respective families.
Robinson and his wife, who have a newborn and a 3-year-old, are “cherishing this time now, while the kids believe in Santa.
Donofrio, his wife and his three kids — ages 6, 3 and 1½ — will be heading out the day after Thanksgiving to get their tree and decorate it.
“We enjoy the tree for a whole month, turning on just the tree’s lights and enjoying the glow in the evening,” he said.
The Tree Transporter can be purchased directly from the website. It can be shipped anywhere — or it can be delivered in person locally. It will also be for sale at the PopShop at The Warehouse @ FTC in Fairfield on Saturday, Dec. 2.
For more information and to order a Tree Transporter, which sells for $39.99, click here .
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