2008 recession to blame for increase in prices, shortage of Christmas trees

News

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Now that Thanksgiving is over, many are out picking out the perfect live Christmas tree, but you may notice the prices of the Fraser fir trees have increased over the last four years.

Lauren Booth tells News13 the increase in prices of live Christmas trees like these is due to a shortage caused by the 2008 recession.

“We started off, way back when, going to the mountains, but that’s a haul,” said Jim Sherrill. “That’s quite a haul.”

For the last eight years, Sue Earnhardt and Jim Sherrill have been coming to Booth’s Christmas Tree Farm to get their tree.

“We decorate December the 2nd,” laughed Sherrill. And this year, they picked the perfect six foot tree because Christmas Day, is always at their house. “We’re the grandparents,” said Sherrill. “Of course!”

But, their Christmas tree will run $5 to $10 more than the one they picked in years past, and that’s due to the 2008 recession.

“People were not buying real Christmas trees at that time, so there was an oversupply,” said Lauren Booth, co-owner of Booth’s Christmas Tree Farm. “People stopped planting the Fraser firs, which is what we’re standing behind.”

“These trees, they take 6 to 8 years to grow, so when sales started coming back about four years after the recession hit, in maybe 2011, people started planting again,” said Booth.

But that wasn’t enough, there was a shortage. “The growers can basically charge what they want. Our cost has gone up every year. The shipping cost goes up every year, the amount of people that we have to have here goes up every year,” said Booth.

“This is slightly higher,” said Jim Sherrill, looking at his new Christmas tree. “I think this one’s 50 or 55, I don’t know, but it makes no difference. It’s Christmas.”

Booth says this could continue for another four to five years, but until then, for those who may not be too keen on the price increase but still want a tree, she says they can help you. “We try to work with them as best as we can,” Booth said.

And as for Sue and Jim, you’ll find them back at Booth’s next year, looking for another 6 foot tree.

“Let’s support the local people here in Horry County,” said Sue Earnhardt. “We give back to the community,” said Sherrill. “As much as we can,” said Earnhardt.

Booth’s Christmas Tree Farm is open seven days a week and Lauren Booth tells News13 that this coming weekend will be the busiest weekend of the season.

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