The Top of the Hill Market will soon again have more than 600 Christmas trees available for sale in December. Jack Noonan, who is running the tree sale for his daughter, Vanessa Mullen, said he hopes to have trees available by Thanksgiving weekend.

by Pete Mazzaccaro

Longtime Hill resident Jack Noonan has been retired for some time. But when his daughter, Vanessa Mullen, asked him to help her get Christmas trees delivered to the Top of the Hill Market, he said he was happy to help.

Vanessa and her husband, Rob, own two restaurants on Germantown Avenue: Campbell’s Place and Paris Bistro. Last month, after the Top of the Hill Market on 186 E. Evergreen Ave. suddenly closed for good, the Mullens agreed to take over the business. They said it will be different in some ways than it has in the past, but that they’re eager to add their expertise in local restaurant operation and catering to the one of the Hill’s longstanding institutions.

“While the concept will be quite different from the market and cafe that existed there for many years, we are thrilled to provide our neighbors and friends with another venue that embodies the hospitality people have come to know through Campbell’s Place, Paris Bistro and Jazz Café,” Vanessa said.

While she and her husband work on opening the market and café, however, they wanted to make sure the market filled its traditional role of neighborhood Christmas tree vendor. When they learned she was taking over the market, many asked Vanessa if she’d be selling trees. It’s something she wanted to do, but needed help.

And that’s where Noonan entered the picture.

Having never been in the tree business, Noonan was left scrambling at the last minute to stock the market with trees. Typically, Noonan said, tree vendors purchase their stock in the summer. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to meet the need. But then he found a solution at the last minute. Last week, Noonan said he and a friend, Darryl Chomin, arranged the purchase of 628 trees at a Christmas tree auction in Mifflinberg, Pennsylvania. All of them are freshly cut and healthy.

“It was one of the biggest operations I’ve ever seen,” Noonan said of the auction. “They had between 25,000 and 30,000 trees for sale. They probably sold more than $2 million in trees in two days.”

Noonan, who’s managing the tree sale for his daughter, said that details on when the trees will be for sale are still being worked out, but that he plans to have regular hours for customers looking for them. That will be on evenings and weekends with regular hours expanding as he’s able to do so.

“It’s a really important part of the community,” Noonan said. “It’s really gratifying. It’s a community effort.”

Vanessa promised that in addition to the tree sale, the Top of the Hill Market will be hosting events through the holidays, particularly during Stag and Doe Nights, which run every Wednesday evening in December until Christmas. She and her husband will soon be sharing more details about what they have in store for the market and café.

“We will be bringing our special brand of conviviality and holiday cheer to our new space with hot chocolate, cider, special treats and, of course, lots of fun!” she said. “We can’t wait to celebrate the holidays with you and welcome you to our exciting new venture in 2020.”

Pete Mazzaccaro can be reached at pete@chestntuhilllocal.com or 215-248-8802.

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