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Growers hope budget-cutters won't cut Christmas trees

Posted November 28, 2008

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— Growers hope that while consumers trim their budget in a tight economy, they will still trim the Christmas tree.

"This is our one shot of the year to do what we do, and if don't make it, then we're really hurting," said grower Paul Hodakowski, who set up at the Farmers' Market in Raleigh Friday.

Growers said they have a good crop this year but fear that the many consumers who are cutting back spending won't buy as many Christmas trees.

"The economy is hurting us a lot," grower T.J. Pendley said. "People just don't seem to be spending like we normally do."

Some growers said they expect that, ultimately, customers will come out for their Christmas tree.

"We're hoping for a good year," grower Sheila Barrier said. "It's been really slow, but today has been good."

However, Pendley said he has already seen a 50 percent drop in his sales.

Despite higher production costs, some growers said they have cut prices to lure buyers.

"It's just the way the market is throughout the United States, so tree prices should be down just a little bit," Hodakowski said.

Growers said they will get a clearer picture of what their bottom line will be after next weekend, usually the peak for Christmas tree sales.

In the meantime, they're banking on families such as the Yates, who went to the Farmer's Market to look for the tree that will carry on their holiday tradition.

"Of course, it's her (my daughter's) first Christmas, so we're trying to make it a special one," Carolyn Yates said. "We look at the prices, but I don't even know what we paid last year, to be honest."

"Everybody's going to have a tree for their family," Barrier said.

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  • DayumKrazy1 Nov 28, 2008

    don't charge outrageous prices and then they too can make a few bucks...not holding my breath thats for sure!

  • bettyboopr2 Nov 28, 2008

    The Food Lion trees are cut way too early. Early Oct.

  • BULLDOZER Nov 28, 2008

    It's not too late for these tree farmers(resellers) to drop their prices. Food Lion has great 8 footers for $29.00. If they are worried about losing business drop prices. There is now way I am spending $100-$150 bucks on a tree that gets ground up for mulch in 4 weeks.

  • VoiceOfReason Nov 28, 2008

    Jordan Lake Christmas Tree farm has pick and cut trees at a reasonable price. We have been going there for years....always much cheaper than pre cut trees. Purchased an almost 7 foot tree today for $27.50. You cannot beat the price, the experience with your family of picking out a fresh tree and the wonderful fresh aroma in the house.

  • kopfjaeger2001 Nov 28, 2008

    I remember when I was a young kid 40 years ago, we used to cut our won tree. Now people pay for them. Maybe if these tree farms charged a flat admission that is reasonable, and let the purchaser cut their own tree, they would make money on all the fuel they would save intransporting them to town.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 28, 2008

    I switched back to a fake tree a few years ago. The prices got to the point where I would not pay what they wanted for the real trees.

  • John Q Public Nov 28, 2008

    This is kind of related to the "buying local" article. People are more comfortable buying locally grown trees if the trees are modestly priced. Or else they'll always go to the big-box stores. I don't think Christmas is any excuse to spend unnecessary money.

  • bettyboopr2 Nov 28, 2008

    bigcheese I can tell you where to go for a tree at a good price. Go to Fuquay Varina, at the intersection of Purfoy and Holland Rd. Hollands Produce. Fresh Frasier firs just cut the weekend before Thanksgiving. Local grower Betty Russell

  • BIGCHEESECAMATO Nov 28, 2008

    As long as the Christmas Tree lots do not have high and crazy prices I might go. Why would I pay $100.00 or more for something that is going to dye in a few weeks and get tossed out when I can go to a grocery store or home center and get the same thing for 50-75% cheaper. They always start off with the crazy high prices and then a few weeks later, the guys at the lots panic and strat really cutting the prices on the trees after everyone has messed or played with them. Its like that demo or open box at the store. Everyone has touched it or tried to shape it. The tree lots are much like the State Fair. If you go the first days they are for sale, they are high high prices then as the month (or week of the fair) goes by with no sales you cut the prices low low low.....Trees at the lots are way too high... sometimes the people at the lots take advantage of the average folks or look at what the person is driving. Its the same as a Car Lot. There is always a born SU@Ker