Christmas Tree Shortage Not Affecting Businesses

SOUTH DAKOTA-  Experts say those looking for the picture-perfect Christmas tree this year may find it hard to come by or see an uptick in pricing due to the 2008 economy. Nationwide, businesses have been having a shortage of Christmas trees, but that’s been the opposite here in South Dakota.

It’s that time of year again, where families are searching for the perfect Christmas tree and for some, it’s become a family fun event.

“It’s just a family tradition, it just brings us closer together for the day,” says Dean Family.

Cutting a Christmas tree at Riverview Christmas Tree Farm has been a 12-year tradition for the Dean family. Even after many years, there just always seems to be that one tree that won’t tilt over.

“Yup it’s getting harder every year. Getting older and older, it gets harder and harder,” says Dean Family.

However, it eventually ends up coming off. It’s these experiences and family bonding that owner Todd Gannon loves to see.

“This time of year when you see all the families come out. New people starting traditions really fills our hearts and puts smiles on our faces to see all the happiness,” says Riverview Christmas Tree Farm owner, Todd Gannon.

Gannon has been growing his own Christmas trees in Canton for many years and each year he sees a demand, but this year was way more than he expected.

“We opened the weekend before Thanksgiving and we have been slightly ahead of pace every single day, that we have been open,” says Gannon. “Some of it is the weather and I think some of it is the fact that people have heard there’s a shortage of Christmas trees,”

Due to the 2008 economy, experts say there has been a nationwide Christmas tree shortage. The shortage has been beneficial to Gannon, but he says he’s now running out of trees.

“We have to start making inventory decisions 10 years in advance and this year it’s crucial with all the extra demand,” says Gannon. “We have to make decisions for next year’s inventory this year also,”

On the other side of town in Brandon, Farm Fresh Christmas Tree owner, Jess Elofson is having a good first year selling his precut trees and the nationwide shortage is also acting in his favor.

“Actually the Christmas tree shortage is one of the things that made me think that this is really going to work because Brian had an excess of trees,” says  Farm Fresh Christmas Tree owner, Jess Elofson. “I knew these trees would be very nice and fresh, which is a bonus,”

Elofson got the idea to start the seasonal business from his friend in Northern Wisconsin, who also gave him the trees. He opened his doors to the public on Thanksgiving Day with 203 trees and is now down to 120.

“I’ve sold some 17-foot Christmas trees. I’ve sold 12-foot Christmas trees,” says Elofson.

Elofson says he liked how thick and healthy the trees looked and knew they would sell and his customers agree.

“Lot of trees get cut down South and they have been cut for a while,” says Chris Gehrman. “So fresh I am not sure, I know these came from Wisconsin and they weren’t cut too long ago. So they should be good and fresh for a long time,”

So whether you like to cut your own tree or have it done for you. The fun part that most families look forward to is next.

“Probably putting up the lights. I like putting up decorations, “says Jayden Poulos.

Riverview Christmas Tree Farm in Canton is closing for the season Sunday. While Farm Fresh Christmas Tree in Brandon is staying open until they sell out of their trees.

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