Colorado man's Christmas invention lives on through his grandson

He's doing it to keep his grandfather's memory alive.

STAPLETON - The Christmas season is a special time for Stapleton resident Matt Bliss.

It's partly because it's when his business, Modern Christmas Trees, really picks up. But, the futuristic trees he sells mean more to him than the money they make.

"I grew up with this Christmas tree," Bliss said. "It was something we looked forward to as one of our best memories of my grandmother and grandfather."

Bliss' grandfather, Lawrence Stoecker, created the original design for the trees in 1965. Bliss said his grandfather was someone who liked to create things. Bliss said when he was a child, he'd always ask Stoecker for help with his science fair projects.

"He was an engineer and he built A-frame cabins throughout the Rocky Mountains," Bliss said. "He was somebody whose brain worked like an engineer, so he liked to make things."

Bliss uses an acrylic material on the trees he creates today, but the first one was made out of cardboard.

"They were thrifty people and if they could do something, make something, instead of buying something, they would do it," Bliss said.

Stoecker then started making the trees out of Masonite boards until plexiglass was made popular in the 1970s.

"That was really kind of the final version of the tree which is not dissimilar to the materials that are used now," Bliss said.

Stocker was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, according to Bliss, and passed away in 2011. That same year, Bliss launched his website to sell his grandfather's invention. He said a week after his grandfather's passing, he was granted a patent on the design.

Ever since, business has been booming for Bliss and his team. Sales have increased every year by about 70 percent, he estimated. It's a statistic Bliss said his grandfather would find shocking.

"I think he'd grin ear to ear and I think he'd be pretty speechless," Bliss said. "I know he would be proud and I know he would be surprised."

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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