Share This Page

Christmas tree vendors report strong sales vs. artificial counterparts

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 1:07 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger
Brad Fleming of Fleming Landscaping in Elderton bundles a Fraser Fir on his family's tree farm near Route 210 in Elderton on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times

While shopping days before Christmas fly off the calendar, 'tis still the season to pick up a tree.

Local tree farmers are reporting strong sales since Thanksgiving with two more weekends to go before the big day.

“Business has been good,” said Brad Fleming, co-owner of Glenn Fleming Landscaping in Elderton. “The first two weekends of the month are probably the busiest, but I think this one will probably be busy, too.”

Fleming's family has been in the Christmas tree business since his grandfather started selling them in the '60s. Although the majority of the family's 325-acre farm is dedicated to other crops, Fleming said Christmas tree sales are consistently successful.

“We always seem to do all right,” he said. “Every year, we lose a few customers but we gain a few more.”

In fact, Fleming believes the past couple of years have been particularly profitable for area tree sellers.

“I think retail sales have actually been on an upswing,” he said. “I'm not sure if it's part of the green movement or if something is making people move away from artificial trees, but I do think we're seeing more families come for the choose-and-cut trees.”

Just like toys and Twitter, different brands of Christmas trees are subject to trending. Gregg Van Horn, president of the Indiana County Christmas Tree Growers Association and owner of Gregg Van Horn's Tree Farm in Creekside, said there's one clear favorite this year.

“The Fraser fir is the most popular,” Van Horn said. “They're just really good trees. When I first started selling trees out of my yard 12 years ago, 80 percent of my sales were blue spruce. Then the Douglas fir got to be in demand about six or seven years ago. But now everyone seems to want the Fraser fir.”

Fleming said there's science behind the popularity of firs but intangibles often play a role in buyers' decisions.

“Both the Fraser fir and Douglas fir have good needle retention,” he said. “So if people want to leave them up for an extended period of time, those are what they tend to put up. But it seems like there's just something about the Fraser fir and Douglas fir. If you get one, it kind of sticks with you and you get one every year after that.”

If you still don't have a tree, don't worry: You're not alone. Fleming and Van Horn said they always see steady sales right down to the wire.

“We have people who still make it a tradition to come out on Christmas Eve,” Fleming said with a slight chuckle. “But that's the last day we're open. If you don't have your tree by Christmas morning, you're not gonna get it from us.”

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or tkaran@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.