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Local Christmas tree sales strong despite national shortage

Hard winters, drought, inflation and lack of tree growth have caused a nationwide shortage in Christmas tree sales across the country. Despite the shortcomings, local sellers say business has been great this year.

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More than 100 trees still stand at the Troop 214 site in north Fargo.
Finn Harrison / WDAY News
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FARGO — Celebrating Christmas is more expensive this year, but maybe in a way some didn't think of.

A national Christmas tree shortage, along with inflation, have some tree sellers raising their prices. Meaning your pine, spruce or fir may cost you more.

Cupkie Christmas Village, a wholesaler in Richville, Minnesota, said trees typically take about 10-14 years to fully grow. During that time was the 2008 recession and as a result, fewer trees were planted. Late freezes and drought conditions over the last few seasons have also taken a toll.

Despite all of that, tree sellers in Fargo, like Ken Elfstrum, said Christmas tree sales have been great this year.

In a year with a lot of national struggle around the pines, he said sales around his Boy Scout Troop 214 post have been surprisingly good.

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"After Thanksgiving we sold about half of our trees. Right now we have about 123 trees left and we should easily sell that within the next seven days," said Elfstrum, who's been involved with Christmas tree sales for close to 50 years.

Over the last couple of years, the average cost for trees has been sitting around $80.

This year, to make a profit, prices have bumped up a little but not enough to slow down sales.

"Over the years we have just built up clientele because we have been doing this every year for 54 years," Elfstrum said.

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Troop 214 in Fargo came into the year with 265 trees and weren't allowed to order more from their whole seller in Princeton.

"He had it planned out on how many trees he's gotta come up with every year, so he doesn't run short," Elfstrum said.

In West Fargo at SheyWest, more trees have been ordered this year just to meet the growing demand for real Christmas trees.

SheyWest owner Jodi Kallias said they've sold through about half their stock so far. "So, if you are looking for a tree, I would encourage that you go out quickly because they are going quickly," Kallias said.

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There is still some time to get a tree. The crews at SheyWest and Cupkie will continue to sell their trees until Dec. 23.

Troop 214 are typically open until Dec. 15 or 16.

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