National reports indicate the 2008 recession is resulting in a Christmas tree shortage this year, but local sellers say if anything, there is a surplus.

“We are doing awesome and because we have so many Christmas trees, we just marked them half price today,” Kroger Marketplace Manager Charles Prestage said.

Kroger purchases its trees for next year after every holiday season, so the staff knows the trees grow all year specifically for Kroger, Prestage said.

Paul Houston manages the store’s trees each year and said this year, they seem fresher and greener than last.

James Gregonis, who is from New York but manages the Christmas tree lot near Brazos Mall, said he had to pay a bit more per tree this year but is still offering the same prices to customers.

Gregonis heard that the recession was “a lot of it” and possibly because of some fires, he said. During the recession, people did not have the money to invest in something that would take 10 years to pay out, he said.

But he still had hundreds of trees to bring to the lot, which has operated in the same spot for 13 years, Gregonis said. They source the trees from a 500-acre farm in North Carolina, he said.

Joy Wooley and her husband, who live outside of Jones Creek, run the Christmas tree lot near Planet Fitness. She didn’t know the exact cost of the trees this year, but they didn’t run into many difficulties, she said.

“We didn’t get as many big ones as before, but we took what we could get,” Wooley said.

Their sales are about the same as last year, and they’ve sold a good portion of their stock, she said. Their lot also experienced theft by some “real Grinches” last year, and although those people have not been caught, business has been more smooth this year, Wooley said.

One challenge Gregonis said they face is that people are more likely to buy artificial trees now, which they can re-use each year.

“That’s what is hurting,” Gregonis said.

But they offer trees that other retailers can’t, like 13 to 14-foot trees, he said. They’ve sold about two-thirds of their stock, he said.

There are plenty of places left to buy Christmas trees this year, including tree lots, grocery stores and home improvement stores.

Maddy McCarty is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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