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For Frankfort wreath-maker, business is booming this holiday season

Marley Demers holds up a finished wreath in his Frankfort barn.
Leslie Hamp
Red Pine Radio
Marley Demers holds up a finished wreath in his Frankfort barn.

It’s about 5 o’clock on a snowy night in Frankfort. It’s already dark outside, and the temperature is about 20 degrees. Marley Demers is bundled up in his snow gear. He’s headed to his unheated barn to create holiday wreaths. He turns on the barn lights and Christmas music for a little motivation.

“I just got off work from Family Fare Grocery Store, and I’m feeling very tired right now, but I have my caffeine in hand that I'm going to drink while I'm cranking out these wreaths tonight,” said Demers.

Marley is 32 years-old now, but he started making wreaths as a kid. Then, as a teenager, he went to the Career Tech Center in Traverse City to expand his wreath-making skills.

“Then some people said, ‘Hey, if you make wreaths, I would buy them from you,’” said Demers. “So then, my parents looked into buying me a wreath machine, and that's when business got going.”

That was in 2002–he made 30 wreaths that year. To make them, Marley places the evergreens into the wire frame of his wreath machine. Then he clamps them down with a pedal.

This year, he’ll lovingly hand-craft 250 wreaths for family, friends, schools and area businesses.

Wreaths made by Marley Demurs
Leslie Hamp
Red Pine Radio
Wreaths made by Marley Demers.

“I just did an order for Crystal Mountain Ski Resort, and these big, six foot wreaths hang on both entries of the signs and on the buildings,” said Demurs.

Marley stands in front of the wreath table. In front of him a huge pile of evergreen branches and a lot of options for accents.

“Here we have natural berries, different kinds of dried flowers, seed pods, colored balls, silk Poinsettias,” said Demers “All kinds of stuff that’s used to decorate it.”

Marley makes traditional round wreaths of all different sizes. He also creates swags—bundles of evergreen cuttings to decorate railings, mantles, and building entrances.

“I always do Fraser and Cedar, Fraser and Concolor, Fraser and White Pine; and then I keep the pattern going,” said Demurs. “Each wreath has a different character to it. When I see it, I just decide this is where I want stuff to go… Right here I have some plants called love lies bleeding that we grew in the garden last year.”

The plant adds a splash of ruby red that contrasts with the green.

“I'm gonna glue a little bit of those on in the corners along with a little bit of straw flowers from my garden,” said Demurs.

Marley steps back to see what’s missing.He decides to add a burgundy bow.

“I like it.” said Demers.

Tonight, Marley finishes 12 wreaths. They’ll get delivered to Oryana Food Co-Op in Traverse City. Later on, another special order comes in. Sixteen more wreaths are wanted.

“Even if it gets cold out here, I still want to meet my goal and get these wreaths made and to the customers,” said Demers. “I love seeing my wreaths on someone else's door and how it makes other people feel.”