HIGH DEMAND, SHORT SUPPLY: Live Christmas trees are selling fast this holiday season

Credit: MARK FISHER/STAFF

Credit: MARK FISHER/STAFF

Dan Venard has been selling cut Christmas trees for a quarter-century for Joe’s Pines, but he has never seen a season quite like this one.

“There is a much higher demand for trees this year than I ever remember in the last 25 years,” Venard said Sunday afternoon, during a rare lull between what has been — and soon was — a steady stream of customers at Joe’s Pines. The business formerly sold Christmas trees at the former Montgomery County Fairgrounds site on South Main Street in Dayton, and now operates out of the parking lot of the former Neil’s Heritage House on Schantz Avenue in Kettering.

The selection was dwindling at the lot shortly after noon on Sunday, but Bob Stone, who has owned and operated Joe’s Pines since 1986, stopped by to check on the supply. Stone said about 150 more trees were on their way to the lot by late Sunday afternoon, if all went well.

“I keep bringing trees in, and they keep selling,” Stone said. “We have a lot of people calling us and asking whether we still have trees, because the places they usually go are sold out.”

That was exactly the case for Dorothy Aryes of Dayton, who was glad to find a tree to purchase at Joe’s Pines after she found out that the cut-your-own trees she usually buys at Carl and Dorothy Young’s Christmas Tree Farm near Young’s Jersey Dairy north of Yellow Springs were sold out.

“Thank you for a great season, we are now closed,” the tree farm’s owners posted on its Facebook page on Dec. 6. In response to a question from a disappointed customer who wrote, “Wow, so what happened,” the owners replied, “We sold all of this year’s crop!”

Fulton Farms in Troy said on Facebook in mid-November that it would only be open until Dec. 6 for people to get live Christmas trees.

There had been speculation that 2020 would be a busy season for tree-sellers, since the coronavirus pandemic would reduce the number of people traveling to large family gatherings and would instead prompt more families to celebrate at home. The National Christmas Tree Association, which represents sellers and other organizations involved in the industry, had said in November that farmers were seeing a high volume of requests for trees even before Thanksgiving.

Joe’s Pines brings in cut trees from outside Ohio, so it has access to supply that a cut-your-own local tree farm would not have. But even its supplies are dwindling, too.

“We’ll be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day until we run out of trees,” Venard said.

Credit: MARK FISHER/STAFF

Credit: MARK FISHER/STAFF

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