King of Pops branches out with Christmas trees

The popsicle gurus get their elf on with an eco-friendly delivery service
Nick Carse poses with a Norway Spruce on a West Jefferson, North Carolina farm.

Courtesy Tree Elves

A few days after Halloween, Steven Carse is in the market for an elf costume. But regular old pointy ears and T-shirts with Peter Pan flair won’t suffice.

“We’re looking for some intense elf suits,” says Carse, twenty-nine, who founded King of Pops with his older brother, Nick, in 2010. “We’re obviously not taking ourselves too seriously.”

Carse is referring to King of Pops’ unlikely side venture, Tree Elves. The brothers Carse launched the eco-conscious, Christmas tree delivery service last year as a means to bridge the November-to-March lull in popsicle sales and to keep seasonal employees working a little longer.

The gist: Trees come in three sizes and range from $60 to $100 (deliveries include popsicles with Christmas flavors like chocolate peppermint, gingersnap, and eggnog). With the fleet of popsicle trucks, elves deliver the potted trees anywhere inside Interstate 285 and to a few suburban locations. They’ll set the trees up and retrieve them after Christmas to store on farmland the Carses are purchasing southwest of Atlanta. Customers have the option of getting the same tree next year, in slightly larger form.

“People like the idea of not throwing their tree on the street,” says Carse.

Last year, Carse and Co. stockpiled 275 Leyland Cypress trees and sold out before December. Now, they’ve upped their stock to 500 Norway Spruces—which look fuller, Carse says—from a North Carolina grower. Eventually they hope to source their own trees (and fruit for popsicles) on their farm.

The trees are another step in a business idea launched during a backpacking trip in Central America—where the brothers fell for frozen paletas—and that finally took off when Steven was laid off as a data analyst at AIG, a casualty of the recession. Popsicle sales topped $1.2 million in metro Atlanta alone this year, and the company now operates subsidiaries in five more Southeastern cities.

But when it comes to trees, Carse issues a disclaimer.

“For anyone who wants the most perfect-looking Christmas tree, I wouldn’t recommend that they do this,” he says. “But it’s a cool story and, I think, a fun way to do it.”