Black Friday, the latest victim in the Christmas tree supply chain


The actual holiday shopping season kicked off on Black Friday with some of the usual hustle and bustle for big-ticket items at area retailers, but supply chain issues and labor shortages may have been behind them. hit a somewhat unexpected element: Christmas trees.

The weekend after Thanksgiving is the traditional start of the tree-buying season, with many families heading out to cut down their perfect tree. This year, despite the rain, families went out on Friday – and they may have made a wise decision.

Ellms Family Farm, a popular destination in Saratoga County for self-cut trees as well as pre-cut trees, has only half the trees it will need to meet demand. Ellms buys from more rural forest farms to supplement his local harvest, but this year will be more difficult, said co-owner Garth Ellms.

“We get our trees from Watertown – they use all the help from the Amish to harvest. With the price of lumber so high, they couldn’t get them to work because they were doing the sawmills, ”Ellms said. “The work is not gone, it is gone to other worlds.”

So he looked for other options.

“There is a Christmas tree wholesale market in Pennsylvania. This is your last effort, ”he said. “In years past, you could get smaller trees for $ 10 per tree. These trees range from $ 70 to $ 100. The only market that can afford to do this is the town market.

Now he’s making connections with small tree growers through the New York State Christmas Tree Association.

“Two days ago a woman texted me, ‘Hey, do you need more trees, I think I can help you,'” Ellms said.

He is therefore convinced that it will work.

“The message is that everyone will get a tree,” he said. “But shop early.”

Retail is buzzing smoothly

As for retail shopping, those who went out had no trouble finding the big ticket items they wanted before dawn.

“The prices were a bit inflated,” said Angela Trianni of Coeymans Hollow, who was shopping with her aunt and mother.

They had visited half a dozen stores by 11am, getting all the big ticket items off their list.

“It’s been really good,” she said. “It’s not too packed and crazy. We’re just enjoying our time together.

The family skipped Black Friday last year because of the pandemic.

Snowy start

Friday’s weather was not promising for outdoor activities, but it did not deter some Christmas enthusiasts.

“We were expecting a very, very busy day, but obviously with the weather it isn’t,” said Ellms. “It’s raining heavily and the wind is blowing sideways. It’s a little snow. It doesn’t stack up, so it’s like this winter wonderland, like you’re in a globe.

Those who have braved the rain love the snow flurries.

“People are just smiling,” Ellms said.

Some local farmers have also been hit hard by supply chain issues as they prepare wreaths and other greenery for the Christmas season.

But others are doing well. The difference is whether they grow it themselves, said Todd Kusnierz, owner of Candy Cane Farm in Moreau. His Christmas tree farm has a lot of trees.

“But retailers who don’t grow themselves face shortages and much higher wholesale prices when they can find a supply,” said Kusnierz, chairman of the Saratoga County Board of Directors.

Buying trees was quick at Candy Cane Farm. Kusnierz said the trees cut this weekend would easily last into the holiday season.

There were queues at the stores, but some people stayed home this year for other reasons.

“After COVID, I think I just want to spend money on souvenirs, not things. Going to the movies with my daughter meant more than buying her a pair of UGGs on sale,” said Brigid Martin of South Glens Falls.

And money is tight this year, she added.

“Thanksgiving cost a lot more than it used to be and I spent a small fortune on gasoline just to get to work,” she said. “I ordered a few items online for under the tree. When the budget is tight I have to stick to the list, no extras. “

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