Christmas tree business owner wins $5,000 in entrepreneur competition

Matt Quinn of Convair plans to launch his Christmas tree business Saturday at the Business Lab final pitch competition at the Skowhegan Entrepreneurship Center. Quinn’s presentation won $5,000 from Skowhegan Savings Bank. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN — Matt Quinn stood confidently in front of an audience Saturday, touting the benefits of his company, Convair Christmas Tree Company, LLC.

When he disputed a former spokesman’s claim that money doesn’t grow on trees, he was immediately drawn to laughter.

“I’m here to tell you it does,” he said.

Quinn, 43, and a number of other entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs are vying for the $5,000 prize as part of the inaugural Business Lab Finals pitch competition at Main Street Skowhegan. They stood before an audience of about 30 at the Skowhegan Center for Entrepreneurship, including three judges, to promote their business idea.

Quinn, who was later declared the winner, already owns the Christmas tree business that runs Quinn Tree Farm, but he’s working on expanding it. He said if he would receive $5,000 in Skowhegan Savings Bank as a prize, he would buy a tree shaker for unwanted items like dry needles on the tree, and a machine for making wreaths, which would save time and money. The bank sponsored Saturday’s event.

In his warm and entertaining presentation, Quinn said his father, Jeffrey, instilled a love of gardening in him, and every November and December, his friends and family show up to help get trees to where they are needed. place.

“You have a Christmas tree stand, you need a Christmas tree,” he said. “We’re giving your family a place to make memories.”

Quinn, who has been a full-time Skowhegan firefighter for seven years and a volunteer 16 years ago, said his clientele is mostly people within a radius of about 25 miles.

“They came to the farm and fell trees and they were happy,” he said.

The farm sells about 1,200 trees wholesale, and people up and down the East Coast buy and sell them.

“We are an environmentally friendly, environmentally sustainable business,” Quinn said.

An acre of trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people a day and provide habitat for songbirds, deer, squirrels, skunks, wasps, bees and other animals, he said. Quinn said the farm grows two or three saplings for every tree harvested, and last year he planted 2,500 trees and sold not only trees but garlands, garlands and related items for a total of $35,000 in sales. This year, he hopes to make $65,000 at the box office. He said he was also looking for more land to plant trees that he didn’t have to own. Landowners get a portion of the profits.

Quinn and the other contestants had spent the previous seven Saturdays studying at the Skowhegan Center for Entrepreneurship, which opened at 181 Water St. in April. And is a show on Main Street Skowhegan. They heard from the speakers and learned about the corporate vision, mission and values, as well as finance and accounting, marketing accounts, sales and project management. They also practiced their commercial pitches.The course host is Patrick MooreBusiness Relations Manager at Skowhegan Main Street.

“They put in a lot of work over seven weeks,” Moore said after Saturday’s event.

Saturday’s other contestant was Heather Hutchins, who owns a salon but also launched new business Rock Bottom Cafe, which she said will be a cozy coffee lounge serving a quick homemade breakfast with indoor and outdoor seating. Joe Almand, who developed Joe’s Flat Iron Cafe in the former Paper Klip space in downtown Skowhegan, said he was ineligible for the $5,000 award because he sits on the board of Main Street Skowhegan and Moore is his landlord; Noah Sixberry, Sixberry Solutions The owners of , a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, business profile management, and social media management; and Sara Forbus, who wants to start a traveling food truck with homemade food that she will use at sporting events, weddings, Set it up for festivals and companies.

Main Street Skowhegan Executive Director Kristina Cannon welcomed participants and audience Saturday, explaining that Main Street is a nonprofit dedicated to helping revitalize Skowhegan, which includes supporting businesses and entrepreneurs so they can thrive.

“We’re doing a lot to help boost our ecosystem of entrepreneurs and businesses,” Cannon said.

She said more businesses and potential businesses would attend the centre’s courses and continue to work with businesses upon completion.

“We’re really happy that Skowhegan Savings Bank said, ‘Yes, we’ll back you up again,'” she said.

Saturday’s judges were Angel Quick, the bank’s vice president of treasury and banking services, who announced the winner; Peter Piconi of the Maine Small Business Development Center; and Kim Kennedy, who was in Fairfield’s Kenney Baker Valley Community College engages in business administration and faculty.

Skowhegan town manager Christine Almand’s husband Almand said in his speech that on July 26 he fell 25 feet into the Kennebec River Gorge, which ended his career as a firefighter. He suffered a broken face, three ribs and both wrists, and suffered other injuries, including severe brain damage.

“It forced me to make new decisions,” he said of his plans to open a cafe in the city center.

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