Christmas Trees Magazine is in its 38th year of publication. Myron "Mike" Gwinner, Hermann, Missouri, started Christmas Trees in 1972 because information was badly needed for Christmas tree growers.
In 1981, Charles and Alice Clare Wright, owners of Tree Publishers, Inc. purchased the magazine from Mike when he had to retire. The Wrights owned 68 acres near Lecompton, Kansas and planted their first Christmas trees in 1968. They operated a thriving "Choose and Harvest"
Christmas tree operation with hundreds of satisfied customers for many years. Chuck was known in Northeast Kansas as "Mr. Christmas Tree," and was widely quoted in media sources.
"Chuck" and "Sally" quickly became leaders in the Christmas tree industry. They traveled the world talking about real Christmas trees and touring plantations which they wrote about. Many of the articles in Christmas Trees Magazine came from their first-hand experiences in the Christmas tree business. Additionally, they networked with state and regional associations and attended hundreds of grower meetings. They are loved and respected around the world by people in the industry.
Christmas Trees Magazine is an independent source of information for large, small, retail, and wholesale growers. Being independent has given us the freedom to offer constructive criticism to the industry always with what is best for the industry in mind. For his efforts, Chuck is respected for helping the industry to grow and mature. In 2002, he received the industry's highest honor by being awarded the "Outstandng Service Award" by the National Christmas Tree Association. He felt very honored by receiving this distinguished award.
Alice Clare Wright passed away in March 2008. From 1973 to 1987, she and her husband Chuck, grew and sold Christmas trees on their Lecompton , Kansas farm. Alice Clare was also a wreath maker and a distributor of wreath rings. During her many years of service to the industry, Alice Clare, known by many of her friends as "Sally," earned the "Outstanding Service Award" from the National Christmas Tree Association, the "Mike Gwinner Award" from the Mid-America Christmas Tree Association, and a "Lifetime Membership Award" from the Kansas Christmas Tree Growers Association. Sally was a charter member of the Mid-America Christmas Tree Association, a life member of the Kansas Christmas Tree Growers Association, and a member of the National Christmas Tree Association. She and Chuck visited hundreds of Christmas tree plantations while traveling the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
In 2001, their daughter, Catherine Wright Howard, assumed hands-on editorial responsibilities for the magazine. She had served as reporter, photographer, associate editor, and editor. Catherine has also traveled around the world photographing and writing about conifers and Christmas trees. She is the only marketing expert in the world who focuses solely on marketing Christmas trees. Catherine has also traveled around the world to Europe, North America, Mexico, the Mediterranean, and Asia photographing and writing about conifers and Christmas trees.
Catherine has spoken at dozens of Christmas tree meetings, and she is a marketing and management consultant to Christmas tree farms. She writes the "Selling Christmas Trees" column for the magazine which is a popular, "down-to-earth" feature.
Catherine has taught college-level marketing and management classes for over 25 years at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana; Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas; and at Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. As a marketing instructor and consultant, she has helped many business clients with their marketing problems including a bed and breakfast, a premium kitchen counter manufacturer, several churches, an art gallery store, a leather and luggage store, two caterers, many non-profit organizations, several Christmas tree plantations, and a state Christmas tree association.
For 17 years, Catherine was the director of the East Central Indiana Better Business Bureau, and in that role, she was a frequent media interview and public speaker. She has worked in sales for insurance companies, a Hallmark card and gift store, Pier 1 Imports, and other retail outlets. Catherine was awarded the "Executive of the Month" award by the Topeka, Kansas Sales and Marketing Executives, and she has won awards for teaching excellence. Catherine earned a Masters of Business (MBA) Degree from Ball State University, a Masters of Arts (MA) Degree in Psychology from Wayne State University, and is working on her doctorate degree in intercultural and organizational communication from the University of Kansas. Catherine has taught marketing and management courses for over 30 years at the college level. She is currently teaching for Fort Hays State University.
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