The season for painting may be over, but one area house painter has found another seasonal business that takes him upon the rooftop during the slow months.

The season for painting may be over, but one area house painter has found another seasonal business that takes him upon the rooftop during the slow months.

Small business owner Chris Apfelstadt has expanded his house-painting business by adding a holiday service - designing and placing Christmas decorations at residences and businesses in the central Ohio area.

"We help design the display, we provide the lights, then we put them up, maintain them over the holiday season and then store everything once the holidays are over," Apfelstadt said. "Our customers like us because they don't have to touch a single Christmas light."

The work of Apfelstadt's business, Holiday Illuminations, can be seen along Tremont Road, where he was working last week. In addition to residential work, Apfelstadt and his crew also take on larger commercial displays in the area, he said.

"We pick a restaurant to decorate every year, and this year we're lighting a retirement village up in Powell," he said. "The largest job we've done so far this year is lighting the Columbus Commons. We've been working on that all month, and there are more than 100,000 lights put up in that spot."

A wrestling coach at Hilliard Bradley High School, Apfelstadt said he has been in the house painting business for about eight years. Several members of his crew wrestled for the high school before graduating and working for Apfelstadt.

About five years ago, he branched out to include the full-service holiday decorating side of Holiday Illuminations.

"Painting keeps us pretty busy in the spring and summer, but in winter that slows way down and it's hard to find work," he said. "I met some guys in Florida who had a holiday lighting business and I liked the business model. We already had the employees and the customer base.

"We started out small, but I met a guy who was a light supplier from Upper Arlington, Dean Nida and Associates, and he took me under his wing and taught me the ropes. We've grown every year since."

Apfelstadt laughed when asked if anyone compares him to the family patriarch from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

"Well, so far I haven't had anyone I would put in the Clark Griswold category, but we have had one customer pay about $6,000 to light their home," he said. "You can see the house from an airplane, I'm sure."

Apfelstadt's work can be seen online at www.lightupcolumbus.com.