Policyholder Spotlight: Christmas Depot
"We’ve had some customers for more than 50 years,” said Tim Fitzpatrick, the owner of Christmas Depot in Hammond, LA. “It’s a family business, and I’ve been working here all my life, starting with Saturdays when I was in high school, opening and closing the store.”
Fitzpatrick’s father started the company - which he named Floral Enterprises - in New Orleans in 1958. When Fitzpatrick took over the company in 1997, he decided to close the fresh floral part of the business in order to focus on Christmas.
Today, Christmas Depot mainly offers high-end commercial Christmas decorations and installations. Fitzpatrick’s daughter, Kelly, works with the company as well, overseeing day-to-day operations and buying stock.
Fitzpatrick said that safety risks are a part of nearly every job for Christmas Depot. Using ladders and large equipment in foreign environments requires extra preparation and thought. “We try as much as possible to limit exposure to safety issues,” explained Fitzpatrick, who said that the company has numerous protocols and rules in place for both on-site and off-site installations.
“We pre-decorate a lot of trees so that we reduce people and time on ladders. And if there’s a man lift on the job, or an engine running anywhere, no one is wearing earbuds or looking at a cell phone. Safety harnesses and steel-toed boots are a must for people as well. We do a ground survey on our jobs so we know where the power is and the distance to power lines. If we’ve been there before, we also ask if there’s been any change to the ground since the last installation.”
Fitzpatrick sees safety as part of his customer service offering, and believes that Christmas Depot’s excellent safety record is one reason why so many customers come back year after year. “We do a great job, stay safe, and do it right the first time,” he said.
Even Christmas Depot’s loyal customer base struggled with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, however. Combined with a major health event in March of 2020 that kept him in the hospital for more than 90 days, Fitzpatrick said the past few years since 2020 have been tough for the Company.“We’re doing well now finally, and are catching up,” he said. “A lot of customers just chose not to decorate for Christmas in offices or public spaces for a couple of years. The ones who did required us to redesign all our displays to accommodate social distancing. It was tough, but our customers knew we were dependable and flexible, and we made it through.”
Dependability is an important value for Fitzpatrick. “And I think that’s what I like about LUBA,” he explained.
“I like knowing that I’ve purchased a quality product from LUBA and that it’s there if I need it. I know if anything happens, my employees will be taken care of.”
“I like having a real person to talk to, to tell me what I am doing wrong or what I can do better so I can clean that up. I want to do the best I can to keep my people and my business safe, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner to give me peace of mind about that.”