ST. JOHN — Like many other industries, the sale of live Christmas trees locally has also been impacted by COVID-19 concerns, with fewer organizations selling trees this year.
Delp Christmas Tree Farm near St. John said they are still selling trees this year, but with new safety measures in place.
So far, Tony Delp said, sales have been steady to a little bit higher as compared to past years. He anticipates it is possible they are picking up business from other vendors choosing not to sell trees, but with already having a steady clientele, he does not believe the lack of sales from other vendors impacts them significantly.
The most significant impact, as with many other businesses, has come in how they do business. Delp said they have made several operational changes to address safety concerns brought about by COVID-19.
They have set up outdoor check-out areas and set up a display room at the farm to allow for as much social distancing as possible for tree shoppers. One advantage to a tree farm, he said, is that the bulk of the work they do is already outside cutting trees, which makes social distancing much easier for staff and customers.
They are also using touchless terminals to take payments this year, as well as allowing customers to keep pens rather than reusing them at check-out.
The Great Bend Optimist Club, which usually sells Christmas trees at Waters Hardware, made the decision not to conduct tree sales this year.
Steve Kummer with the Optimist Club said the club usually gets the trees they sell from a farm in Michigan, and the farm advised it would not be able to ship the trees this year. Kummer was unsure of the exact reason for the farm’s inability to ship the trees.
Though there was some discussion about ordering trees from another farm, Kummer said the decision was made not to sell the trees because of the significant lead time required to place the orders. He said the orders usually have to be placed by May or June to get them in time to sell.
According to Lee Ann June with the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce, the Dillons Store at 10th Street and McKinley Street is also still selling live Christmas trees this year.
These two vendors, Dillons and Delp Tree Farm, are the only two area vendors the Chamber of Commerce is aware of who are selling live Christmas trees this year.
Delp Tree Farm Hours:
December 5 - 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
December 6-11 - 1-6 p.m.
December 12 - 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
December 13-18 - 1-6 p.m.
December 19 - 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
December 20 - 1-6 p.m.