2015 Christmas Tree Season highlights
Other than a few minor weather issues, and tighter supplies of trees, our growers and retailers had praise for the 2015 Season in general. Truck availability was better than it has been for the last several years. Most of our retailers reported good sales. Noble fir continues to be the most popular tree. Nordmann fir popularity is still growing, and Douglas fir is holding it’s own.
By finally getting a higher dollar amount for their trees, our growers were able to put more money in to them increasing their overall quality. They again struggled to find adequate labor. This occasionally impacted their abilities to harvest and process their trees fast enough to keep up with the trucks as they rolled in, and completely fill your orders. In their efforts to attain profitability, various sizes, species, and grades suddenly disappeared from price lists. Some growers have lost hundreds if not thousands of seedlings to drier than normal weather. This affects their inventories, and will continue to do so for years ahead. We were able to outsource to get orders filled to a pretty good degree, but still noticed an undesirable increase in last minute surprise substitutions and/or out of stocks for some of our orders.
Looking ahead, growers are expecting a further tightening of supplies, and also more price increases. Noble fir seed is currently in short supply, which will keep inventories tight for the next 8 to 10 years. Many of the growers in the Pacific Northwest have gone out of business. It appears that a good portion of their growing ground is being replaced with hazelnuts.
Fortunately, we have long standing, solid relationships with some of the finest growers in the Pacific Northwest. More importantly, we are also lucky to have a customer base that consists of some of the finest retailers in California, many of which have been purchasing trees from us for 30 to 50 years. This enables us to consistently provide our growers with similar orders every year, for the most most part. The farms can then forecast our needs, plant ahead, and continually supply us with the trees that you need. A big benefit of all this is a common level of trust and respect that is gained. This allows all parties to pull together as a team, and work towards the common goal of customer satisfaction.