COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – With the Christmas tree shortage in effect, two local Christmas tree farmers are seeing an impact on the business.
Over the past three years, Napier’s Produce began to see the Christmas tree shortage take effect. This year’s Christmas Tree shortage has had a huge effect on Napier’s Christmas Tree Farm, owner Patricia Gaspard told News 3 they bought as many trees as they could this year.
“This year has been the most expensive year and hardest to get trees. Last year we saw it and we were able to get it but this year we’re being told to get as many as you can right now because we’re not guaranteed, closer to Christmas they might be gone,” Gaspard said.
According to Gaspard, the Christmas tree shortage started due to the recession that happened ten years ago.
“A tree takes about ten years, and when the recession happened the farmers could not grow the trees like they would because they did not have the money to do it. So you won’t see it until now when they were growing the trees they already had enough for prior years. But now we’re starting to see the effects of the recession back then and now what I feel like is happening is going to happen again. Because they don’t have enough trees to supply for the next grower,” Gaspard said.
Even though Gaspard said the recession is the main reason for the tree shortages, she also believes COVID-19 played a role in the shortage as well.
“Right now with the tree shortage on top of freight, because of delivery issues everywhere. Everyone’s seeing delivery issues, North Carolina is only supplying the Fraser Fir which everybody is commonly used to seeing. Well we had to travel to Oregon to get the Noble Fir and the cost of freight has doubled since three years prior to now. COVID has impacted that tremendously,” Gaspard said.
Since the supply of trees has gone up, Gaspard is having to raise her Christmas tree prices.
“A lot of people are shocked, we’re trying to do our best to keep it budget-friendly. But we had to increase the price of $10-$20 on each tree just for the freight and limited supply. So you’re going to see a cost increase and that’s just not here, that’s going to be everywhere,” Gaspard said.
Gaspard isn’t the only Christmas tree farmer who has raised her prices. Dave Bone, the owner of Dave’s Christmas Trees, says the cost of trees has gone up by 20 to 30 percent.
“We scheduled way ahead so I didn’t go up that much. The trees look great, you can get them but I would suggest buying them a little earlier this year until this thing gets straightened out,” Bone said.
Dave told News 3 he’s having to get a head start on selling his trees.
“It’s making me open earlier, it’s making me sell earlier. It’s done well I have to do a little more planning and get everything locked down sooner than I used to,” Bone said.
Both Gaspard and Bone said they aren’t limiting how many Christmas trees customers can buy this year.
“However many trees you want, if we have them on the lot they’re yours. It’s pretty much first come first serve and honestly the sales in trees have gone down because more people are going artificial because of the increase in price. But I mean there’s nothing like having a real tree with the Christmas smell,” Gaspard said.
“No ma’am, I have thousands they can pick as many as they want until it’s all gone,” Bone said.
Despite some of the hardships, Gaspard is confident about this year’s Christmas tree sales.
“I feel like we’re going in strong for Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend. Last year we failed on that part, last year we were not prepared, we couldn’t get enough trees in that early. This year we’re prepared, so we’re having another run tomorrow to get more trees, so we should have plenty of trees to pick from,” Gaspard said.
Napier’s Christmas Trees will also deliver and set up your Christmas tree.