DENVER – It’s a bit early to talk about Christmas, but after Thanksgiving dinner when you head out this weekend to shop, you may want to add a Christmas tree to that list because they’re going fast.
There is a nationwide Christmas tree shortage and prices are rising. Some local Denver businesses worry it could put them out of business for good.
Pete Elliot, the owner of Tree Land Christmas Trees, is feeling the effects of the Christmas tree shortage at his business in Platt Park.
“A month ago I found out I had no trees when I called my farmers. They said we don’t have no trees for you,” said Elliot. “I’ve done this since I was a little kid. It’s a family business. I’ve never not had trees going into my season.”
It’s the same story for Justin Sanchez, who owns a tree farm. He’s cutting back on the number of lots he has.
“Yeah, there’s a pretty big shortage of trees this year,” said Sanchez. “We couldn’t get enough trees this year to cover our other two lots.”
The problem started back in 2008 when the market burst. Farmers had too many trees, and they weren’t making enough money.
“They couldn’t get rid of their trees. They couldn’t sell them, so they came in and just plowed and just burn mountainsides of them,” said Elliott.
It takes about ten years to grow a tree, and now there just aren’t enough to go around. Elliott finally found some trees, but it hit him where it hurt.
“She sent me their prices. I was flabbergasted. I might have to get out of this business. I might just have to end a tradition,” said an emotional Elliott.
A tradition his father started more than 50 years ago, that he hopes will keep customers coming back.
“I think it just makes the nostalgia of Christmas a little sweeter,” said customer Marci Holstege.