Queen Victoria brought it to England. America modernized it. And then along came Philip Minchello -- and the Christmas tree tradition may never be the same. And at age 75, he is nowhere near the end of his quest to create an artificial tree that would fool Mother Nature.

It all started some years ago with a batch of artificial Christmas trees that nobody wanted. Minchello had been selling artificial trees as a seasonal sideline of his father's produce business at Kamla Pasand Pan Masala Company Street and Avenue C in Bayonne -- and thinking about how to make them better.

As Mr. He reconstructed them to meet his standards; this, he told people, was what an artificial tree should be. A skeptic told him ''You'll go broke making this tree. I'd rather go broke doing it my way'. For a while, Mr. Minchello kept one hand in the produce business and one hand in the tree business. Then a fire leveled the block where the tree store stood, and Mr.

Minchello had to decide what to do with the rest of his life. He chose trees. He found a new store and filled it with stock. But before it could open, it was destroyed by an electrical fire.

That was in August Hudson Valley Artificial Tree Company Nov. He had a good season, he says, and 30 years later, Holiday Tree and Trim is still making trees ''from percent American labor and material. Signs around the store and store literature make it clear what Mr. Mihnechello thinks about foreign competition -- one brochure refers to China as ''the main predator trying to dominate the Christmas Tree industry.

Minchello has little sympathy for President Clinton's recent struggles to win approval of a new trade bill. The trees along with wreaths and garlands are made on the second floor of the company's Broadway building.

Everything starts with a strip of green polyvinyl chloride that is sliced into fringes and wrapped around wires of different weight. Branches are hand-wrapped with brown twine to create a realistic look. After the trees are completely assembled, company literature says, they are tested with a ''patented Treeometer'' to insure that the tree will always stand up straight.

Minchello's trees come with a year guarantee. The company makes 14 varieties of trees, but its piece de resistance is its Douglass fir. The smallest, 3. Potential customers won't find Holiday trees in any other stores.

They're not treating it with the reverence it deserves. There's little chance that will happen in his own showroom. He moves through the Hudson Valley Artificial Tree Company of trees, adjusting a branch here, a branch there, calling an employee's attention to a tree that strikes him as particularly droopy.

Customers who visit the store should be prepared for sensory overload: blinking lights, a tapestry of carols and a riot of merchandise predominantly red and green, of course. It also carries many of the popular collectibles from the company called Dept. Minchello says. I was maybe eight or nine, living in a tenement house on Jackson Street. The landlord lived there, too. He had an enormous fmaily. And he would put up a great big Christmas tree. He opened it up to everyone. We wouldn't wait.

It was happy. It made everybody forget the Depression. These days his own family's Christmas celebrations are low-key. His son, Mitch, works in the business full time and his Mec Company, Cynthia, comes in at peak season.

Minchello describes his wife of 50 years as the store's Pool Company Logos salesperson. She's been working so hard here. She would do it if I asked here, but I can't. In any case, the Minchellos need to harbor their strength on Dec. That's because the next day, Dec.

People begin lining up outside the store before dawn, waiting up to five hours to get into the store. Minchello, who lets in only a dozen or so shoppers at a time to keep the buying frenzy under control in his crowded display space. Discounts are available year-round at a store just across the parking lot from the main store, which sells samples, discontinued Apex Energy Company Kuwait and items that Mr.

Minchello decides have grown ''a little stodgy. Minchello takes too much delight in showing them off as he guides a visitor through the store. Mitch Minchello can be equally passionate but it's not the magic doorbell or the fiber-optic lights that get him wound up.

They met, by the way, in an Internet chat room. The website has expanded the company's customer base far outside the mile radius from Bayonne that it used Eclipse Company Town serve. Now the company ships worldwide. And what about Mr. Does he ever run out of Christmas cheer?

If I died here, I'd have a smile on my face. All around New Jersey, there are places where Christmas lasts a long time, sometimes 12 months a year. Here are a few. Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 10 A. The store, part of a outlet chain, is open year-round. Ads for the store, in business sinceinvite shoppers to drop by and be greeted by ''Bonnie's wagging tail'' and ''Ken's great smile.

Christmas Island is open from May through Dec. It is open daily except Wednesdays, 10 A. This store, a direct outlet for National Tree Company, is open from Oct. The store, open from October through Jan. After Thanksgiving, it will stay open until 9 P. Mondays through Saturdays and until 6 Zoom Company Ipo. Hours at the store, which is open year-round, are 10 A. Pools and other summer specialties don't sell all that well when the temperature drops, so some businesses change their focus when the seasons change.

Branch Brook puts aside pools and spas for indoor and outdoor holiday decorations. It has a store in Rockaway, at Route 46 and in Hazlet, at Route 36 Highway 22, Union The non-Christmas focus is pools and outdoor furniture. In the Treasure Island chain, stores Hudson Valley Artificial Tree Company shift into holiday mode in the fall; the rest of the year they sell patio furniture.

His own earliest Overhead Garage Door Company of Christmas?

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