CSRA business seeing a supply-chain crunch with Christmas trees

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 4:57 PM EST
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The flow of fresh Christmas trees to the CSRA is tangled in the supply-chain snags that are raising concerns about everything from holiday gifts to festive foods.

Aiken’s Cold Creek Nurseries said a big shipment of cut Christmas trees has been stuck at the Canadian border for weeks.

They’ve been there for so long that Cold Creek management decided to close a seasonal location out of concern about the freshness of the trees.

Cold Creek made the decision not to reopen its seasonal location, Cold Creek South. The original plan was to sell pumpkins and fall plants, then transition into a tree lot.

After a successful fall at the new location and support from the community, Cold Creek was looking forward to December at the location.

However, “the amount of time the trees were en route left us concerned with the quality of tree we would be offering our customers,” Cold Creek owner Bill Tiszai said. “Our goal is to set our customers up for success, and this didn’t feel right.”

The trees are being inspected at the border, but there seems to be a holdup.

“It shouldn’t take weeks,” Cold Creek spokeswoman Rebecca Vigné said.

Cold Creek hasn’t been given an exact reason for the holdup, but classifies it as a supply-chain problem.

Supply-chain woes have boosted costs and limited the availability of everything from automobiles to clothing to toys.

The crisis has even led grocery chains to set limits on purchases of certain holiday foods, from turkeys to cranberry sauce.

The shipping problems aren’t only ones hurting the fresh Christmas tree industry.

North Carolina Christmas tree lot owner Norman Simpson said a tree shortage has been coming on in the past two to three years.

He blames supply-and-demand issues, fewer people growing trees and a labor shortage.

Plus it takes a long time to grow a tree, so the effects of a bad growing period or high demand can have a ripple effect for years.

“It’s surprising how many people do think that you put them in the ground in the spring and you’re going to harvest them, you know, November, December,” said Maryland tree grower Joncie Underwood. “It doesn’t work that way.”

Meanwhile at Cold Creek, at least setting up the temporary location has been a positive learning experience.

“It has given us plenty of new ideas for the future,” Chief Operating Officer Meredith Boylan said. “We are looking forward to all that 2022 will bring.”

In the meantime, Cold Creek has plenty of fresh trees, wreaths, garland, greenery bundles and more at its main location, 398 Hitchcock Parkway.

From reports by WRDW/WAGT, WBTV, CNN and The Associated Press