Steven and Nick Carse knew they were going to be the king of something when they chose the name of their ice pop stand in 2010. Today, the Carse brothers sit atop an empire built on their love of Latin American ice pops—with a telltale rainbow umbrella found seemingly everywhere you look. The brothers also run a 68-acre farm in Douglasville, the King of Crops, where they grow watermelons, cucumbers, ginger, and other ingredients for their pops. They have a King of Pops Bar at Ponce City Market where they sling booze and pops, and they also have a similar bar in Charleston called the Crooked Crown. But perhaps their most fun concept of all is their Christmas tree delivery service, Tree Elves, now entering its fifth year in business.
Tree Elves was initially started as a seasonal business to complement their also fairly seasonal pops sales. “We have summer covered up pretty well, so this is two months out of the winter that we can continue to give our best employees, the folks working the carts, the vendors out there, a few more months of employment,” said Nick Carse.
In the business’s first years, the Christmas trees were potted, but this proved to be overly challenging and messy. “They were in pots with like two or three hundred pounds of dirt on the bottom, and so we had some elves with broken backs, spillage, dead trees, all kinds of problems,” Nick said. By year three, Tree Elves switched from potted to cut trees, and found a way to lessen their environmental impact. The fresh Fraser trees come from Cheek Brothers Tree Farm North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The Cheek brothers, according to Nick, plant two to three trees for each tree they cut down.
Here’s how it works: Revelers choose their tree from a variety of sizes. Choices are the Starter Tree (5-6 feet), the Just Right Tree (6-7 feet), the Big Brother Tree (7-8 feet), and the Grand Tree (8-9 feet), which can be purchased online. After scheduling your delivery online, elves will come to your house in their green and red best to deliver your tree. Don’t worry about waiting for tree pickup day after Christmas is over—King of Pops will take care of disposal for you, too. “Since we have the [King of Crops] farm, we also go to your house and remove the trees, then take them to our farm, grind them up, compost them, and add them back to the soil out there,” Nick says.
In addition to the Christmas trees, ice pops in special holiday flavors (Gingerbread, White Chocolate Peppermint, Eggnog, and Apple Cider) can be purchased as part of your delivery order. You can rent an elf to pass out holiday pops from a signature KOP cart for one hour and also lead games while you trim the tree they’ve just delivered. This package starts at $210 for 50 people. They also have add-ons like tree stands, tree removal bags, King of Pops ugly Christmas sweaters, and fresh Fraser wreaths. Tree Elves services Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Greenville, Nashville, and Richmond. Nick says he might have one more trick up his elf sleeve: tree lots, which he says will be more like showrooms, but special with a fancy North Pole theme and tree lot attendants dressed as, you guessed it, elves.