Real trees still in high demand

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; With the Thanksgiving weekend over, the Christmas holiday is getting closer, and Christmas tree retailers are gearing up to sell trees to all who want to decorate their homes.

Kathy Young has worked two Christmas seasons as a manager of Stine Lumber Company, 199 U.S. 61 South, and said people have already started buying their trees for Christmas.

&8220;The day after Thanksgiving we had people double and triple parked getting their trees,&8221; Young said.

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Sunday, Young said the store had sold at least 100 trees to customers since Nov. 24.

Young said that Stine had different varieties of trees including Scotch Pine, Colorado Blue Spruce and Douglas, Fraser and Noble fir trees, ranging from five to 10 feet tall.

The store ordered its trees from Oregon and California, Young said.

Dan Wells, owner of Wells Produce, 166 U.S. 61 South, said he too sold 100 trees since the day after Thanksgiving.

Wells said he has been selling trees for 14 years in Natchez and in those years he found Fraser Fir trees to be the most popular.

In fact, Wells said after last year he now only sells Fraser Firs.

&8220;I think the Fraser is the number one tree in the country because they&8217;re beautiful, plus they last the longest,&8221; Wells said.

Wells said his Frasers, ordered from North Carolina, range from two to 14 feet tall.

Winston May, owner of Mr. Whiskers, 377 John R. Junkin Drive, said he also only sells Fraser Fir Christmas trees from North Carolina.

&8220;I only sell them because I think people desire them more,&8221; May said.

&8220;They don&8217;t shed and as long as you keep refreshing the water, they&8217;ll last the longest of any Christmas tree.&8221;

May said his trees range from five to 16 feet and he also offers two grades.

Grade one, May said is the most popular because it contains only one imperfection, such as a broken branch.

Grade two has two or more imperfections and is the least expensive tree, May said.

Though he would not say how many trees come in a shipment, May said he has sold one shipment of trees since before Thanksgiving and has already sold about 10 percent of his second shipment.

All three retailers said they did not have any problems competing with stores that sell artificial trees.

May said the reason he thought people preferred real Christmas trees is because of the pleasant aroma the trees produce throughout the home.

Wells said in all the years he has sold Christmas trees, he hasn&8217;t seen a heavy decline in sales.

&8220;You lose a few customers some years but in that same year you&8217;ll gain a few too, so it&8217;s pretty much constant,&8221; Wells said.

Young said last year Stine ordered 450 trees and only 10 were left over by the end of Christmas.

Young said she thinks the reason people still buy real Christmas trees is because it brings back memories.

&8220;I think people are starting to want to go back to the way things were,&8221; Young said.

&8220;I still remember my family cutting down our own Christmas tree and I think most people would like to be able to do that again. But this is the closest we can get.&8221;