Teens see holidays as an opportunity

 By Braxton Rickert
Times-News correspondent

Alex Fogleman and Daniel Saconn pose for a photo at Santa's Tree Garden in Burlington. / Braxton Rickert, Times-News correspondent

   The holidays, for some, can be a great source of joy as teens can relax, take a break from school, eat and be with friends and family. Teens like Alex Fogleman and Daniel Saconn see it as an opportunity. The two co-run “Santa’s Tree Garden,” a local Christmas tree lot located near Skids II in Burlington. They are juniors at Walter M. Williams High School and have no time to relax between school and working the garden, not to mention holding separate independent jobs.

 Santa’s Tree Garden was started in 2006 by Dorian Debord, who after a few years, was unable to continue and asked Fogleman and Saconn to step in. Fogleman says it can be overwhelming at times, trying to plan with only the two of them working there.

“It’s very hectic. But it’s also very different — very unique,” Fogleman said. In the process of running the tree lot, they have expanded their skills such as time and money management, public relations, leadership, confidence, and most importantly, organization. Just take a look at the process these two have to go through in order to make this business possible.


   First, they locate a supplier in the North Carolina mountains and take into consideration the distance and price. Then there’s the trouble of transporting them down to the Piedmont. And finally, there is the difficulty of presenting these trees and selling them.

   But Saconn and Fogleman are more than willing to make the effort. They find the experience rewarding, as it is opportunistic and something teens don’t often get to take part in. It’s a step ahead of all the teens who don’t know how to balance a checkbook, much less run a business.

   Yet the two also want to send out a message to everyone out there about teens.

    “There seems to be a perception that teens are useless these days,” Saconn said. To combat this, they try to spread the message that teens are able and willing to do hard work. Not all see the holidays as a time to just go lax.

    “All teens aren’t as bad as adults make them up to be. They are capable if they put their minds to it,” Fogleman said.

    They encourage all teens who want to start a business to do so, but to remember to do research, raise funds in advance, and to do what you love.

   Meanwhile, Fogleman and Saconn continue throughout the season to sell quality Christmas trees. They offer discounts to all returning customers as well as state employees and members of the military. They are located near Skids II in Burlington at 1833 South Church Street. But they also want to spread enthusiasm and encouragement to teens. Look at the holidays not just as a vacation, but as an opportunity.

Braxton Rickert is a senior at River Mill Academy and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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