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CONCORD TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW)– The Christmas rush for natural trees came early as people look for sources of joy in what has been a gloomy year.

“Back in March how you know everybody was running to the store getting toilet paper and things, it was the same here,” said Ken Reeves, owner of Mountain Creek Tree Farm in Concord Township. 

He said there was a dramatic increase in customers when they opened before Thanksgiving. 

“Basically, our entire season of sales has occurred within the first three weeks.”

His barn holds 90 trees and when we visited on Tuesday, it was down to about nine. For the first time, he is closing the cut-your-own fields and will bring what he can into the barn. 

“In the Christmas tree business, it takes seven to 10 years for a tree to grow… And if I allow people to continue to cut out of my fields, I’m not going to have anything for my customers in following years.”

Reeves said at this point, his farm is somewhat of an island in the area as they manage their remaining inventory, whereas other places are completely sold out.

“At our farm, we typically do sell out a bit before Christmas, but this is unusually early,” said Jane Neubauer, who owners Sugar Pines Farm with her husband Fritz. She said they sold more than 1,000 trees the day after Thanksgiving alone. 

“So many people here that had never had a real tree, that said this is the year. They figured this is the year we’re gonna do it. A lot of really young couples, young families, young groups of friends.”

Christmas tree shortages have been reported across North America. Both farms get some inventory from wholesalers.

“It’s not that easy to just call up and say, ‘Hey, can you send us 500 more trees?’ because they too don’t want to cut into next year’s inventory,” Neubauer said.

“The trees I normally purchase and bring in, I was shorted by 20 percent this year and that was common across the industry,” Reeves said.

Farmers attribute much of the rush to the pandemic, as people look for safe activities outdoors.

“Because people are home, they’re looking at their homes and thinking, ‘Let’s decorate,'” Neubauer said.

But for those who haven’t secured their evergreen just, yet she says, “I don’t think we’re to the point where someone who wants a real tree isn’t going to find one. It just may not be exactly where they were hoping to get it.”

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