EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon Christmas tree growers say it’s a new year for the Christmas tree industry.
“Business is up a bit from last year,” said Campbell Trees grower Mike Campbell. “I really do think that this year people are saying that things are getting better. People are buying what they want and not just what is the cheapest.”
Campbell painted a different picture than what he said consumers were doing a year ago.
In 2009, the $101 million dollar Christmas tree industry took a hit as many families reeling from lost jobs or tighter budgets bought the cheapest trees available, or simply opted for fake trees.
“This year is different,” said Campbell. “People are out here with a different kind of attitude. I’m encouraged by what we’ve seen so far.”
Oregon is the No. 1 in U.S. tree production. Latest figures in 2008 show Oregon selling 7.34 million trees. North Carolina is the second largest producer with nearly half the amount of tree production.
Tree growers said this year they’re seeing regular customers buying accessory items such as wreaths and holly, and they’re also seeing first-time tree buyers like the McLean family.
“Usually we don’t do a tree,” said Scott McLean i his living room as he basked in the glow of hundreds of string lights. “But this year it just felt right. New home, new year and it was a good time to do it.”
Tree growers hope more consumers will forgo plastic trees for the real deal.
Brian James Cogley is taking advantage of the bump in Christmas tree business by selling trees from a car sales lot off of Highway 99. This is his first time selling trees and he said getting into the tree business seemed like a good way to make some extra green.
“During the holiday season you don’t get a ton of traffic so this year we’re venturing out and getting into the tree business,” said Cogley. “This year it seems like a better chance to make some money while meeting other people in the community.”
Like many tree stands across Eugene, Cogley is selling trees for a soft price of $15. Is it a hard sale?
“I’ll tell you,” said Cogley. “It’s a lot easier to sell a tree than it is a car.”