CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Robert “Big Bob” Reynolds has sold Christmas trees in Central Virginia for nearly a half-century.
For the past nine years, the 86-year-old has operated Holly Berry Christmas Trees off Hull Street Road in Chesterfield.
Nationwide there is a Christmas tree shortage and Reynolds found out that demand is higher than he’s ever seen. His large shipment of Fraser firs were nearly sold out within a week.
“We sold two trailer loads of trees in seven days. That’s a lot of Christmas trees,” Reynolds said. “That normally lasts us a whole season.”
About 2,500 trees can fit inside the two trailers that were delivered from Mt. Rogers located in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“People stopped growing trees. It’s a lot of work growing Christmas trees and they found that out,” Reynolds said of the short supply of trees this season.
Holly Berry Christmas Tree Farm sells and delivers trees of all sizes to homes across Central Virginia - as long as the supply lasts. Reynolds expected a new shipment of trees to arrive and be unloaded Thursday morning.
Christmas tree farms have become the outlier during the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged some industries.
Phil Woods admitted he was not expecting a rush of customers at his Amelia County farm after Thanksgiving.
“We had 142 trees available to sell this year. Friday and Saturday this past weekend we sold more than we sold last year,” he explained.
Of those 142 trees, Woods had 10 left for sale on Wednesday.
“We really just got rushed when we opened. It was crazy. A line of people stacked up with tress already picked out and ready to check out and hand over their money,” Woods stated.
Woods and his wife have operated Woods Tree Farm at 13941 Clementown Road for two years. He hoped to expand his business to become a destination farm during the holidays.
Woods credits the exhaustion of stay-at-home orders and the ongoing pandemic for the boost in business.
“I think a lot of people are ready to be festive and change the mood in their homes and put up the tree and hope for the best for 2021,” he said.
Many of his customers had never purchased a real Christmas tree before 2020.
"There were just as many families who said they haven’t gotten a tree in five, 10, or 15 years because they always traveled for the holidays,” Woods recalled.
Woods wished he ordered more trees for the rest of the season, but said he couldn’t now if he wanted to.
“Everyone is saying, ‘I need more trees, I want more trees’ and no one is out there saying, ‘I have trees to sell.’ If we wanted to get more trees and open another weekend it would be a big challenge,” he explained.