CLEVELAND - At the corner of Fulton Road and Denison Avenue in Cleveland sits a brick building, a refrigerated warehouse that, in a past life held slabs of beef, but these days holds a mountaintop. At least that's what it looks and smells like each year leading up to the holidays.
M&M Wintergreens is a family-owned wholesale distributor of all things green. Garland, swags and wreaths are shipped to the warehouse each fall from as far away as the Pacific Northwest and then distributed to retailers across the country to be sold to consumers.
"From far west and south as Arizona, we do a little bit up into Canada," said Wintergreens' Sharon Kuhrt. "Mostly regionally, here in Ohio and the surrounding states but sporadically all across the country."
As a wholesaler, Wintergreens is not open to the public, but you will find its goods in most local garden centers. One trend they've noticed in recent years the move away from greenery specifically Christmas-themed.
"Especially, in our climate here, the greenery will last all winter," said Kuhrt. "So it's going away from just being Christmas decorations to really winter decorations. Kind of gardening for the fourth season."
And it's all eco-friendly.
"No trees are cut down. It's actually made from the clippings that make the trees grow and actually keep them healthy, and all the decorations are made from that," Kuhrt said.
The warehouse hits its peak in early November when just about every inch of the massive space is filled with greenery, floor to ceiling and an aroma that is beyond belief. As things begin to wind down, as Christmas draws closer, the shelves are more barren, but the smell is still overwhelming. That is unless you work here.
"I don't smell it after the first couple of days," said Kuhrt. "When the trucks first come into our building, I can really smell it bad, but after a while, it just kind of blends in. I don't smell it anymore."
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