ELIZABETH, N.J. (PIX11) – Joe Rubino and Sal Imbornone are in the business of Christmas.

“I was born in December, so I’m a Christmas person,” said Rubino.

Imbornone and Rubino love Christmas so much, they decided last year to start Natalino’s Christmas Trees, a Christmas tree business in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

“What’s the worst that can happen? Let’s try it,” Rubino said of their decision to launch the business. “You never know until you try.”

No pandemic, nor a tree shortage would deter the team. But they did have to go to great lengths to get their sleigh off the ground.

“We took a trip to North Carolina and we met the growers in person,” said Rubino. “Because calling them on the phone is almost a definite ‘no.'”

Rubino, a student a Fairfield University, and Imbornone, a student at Fordham University, enjoyed success last year. Now, they’re getting ready for this year’s tree rush at their lot at 228 W. Grant St.

“It seemed crazy for us to be able to think that we’re going to be able to commute back and forth from school, be able to manage employees here,” said Rubino. “But we were able to make it happen.”

Imbornone said the business has given them an experience they wouldn’t get in a school environment.

“You know, doing all this was a fun learning experience, I think,” he said. “They don’t teach this stuff in school.”

The pair says they have customers from New York City and the Jersey Shore. Even as they graduate and pursue other interests, they hope to keep Natalino’s alive for many more Christmases to come.

“There’s always going to be those doubters out there,” said Imbornone. “So I think it’s really important to really focus on your ‘why’ and strive toward your goal no matter what.”