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  • Christmas Trees

    We are scrapping popcorn this year, we have lost so much money or barely broken even the last few years. We have a grandfather who is willing to front the cost of wholesale Christmas trees it is also a bonus that we know the tree farm family. We have two locations to set up retail lots, and we are in a major city. My question; how many trees should we purchase up front? We are hesitant because we have been burned by popcorn and were only going to do 100 but the farm family is telling us in our city they can turn over 1500 from Thanksgiving day to Christmas Eve and that 100 won't last us the Thanksgiving weekend. They are recommending 300 as a first year trial with the option that if they have left overs we can always pick up should we run out. (We are only about two hours from the tree farm)

    Has anyone sold Christmas trees before? How has it gone for you? How many do/did you usually order? What did/do you typically sell them for?

    We really appreciate any feedback, thank you!

  • #2
    Great idea, but do you have the manpower to staff the lot for 10 hours a day every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas? Price would be dependent on the type of tree you're selling.


    • #3
      Back in my youth there was a troop that sold trees. Did it for years and years. They only were open 4-9 on weekdays, longer on weekends. Bet the boys will like slinging trees around a lot more than selling popcorn. Best of luck to you, sounds like the tree farm is giving you a no-risk opportunity. Keep us posted on how it goes.


      • #4
        Our troop sells around 600 Christmas trees a year. It's our primary fundraiser for our modest-size unit. The scouts and adults would much rather sell trees than popcorn. We staff the lot on Wed-Friday evenings and all day on Saturday and Sunday, from the Saturday after Thanksgiving to Dec. 23. The hours work out to 5 or 6 shifts per scout/family.

        Pricing depends on the type and size of the trees, but generally we charge $35 for a Scotch pine and up to $60 for a tall Frasier fir. Trees are discounted after the last weekend before Christmas and we donate leftovers to charity with the charity doing pick up. Our prices are more than what chains like Home Depot charge but the trees are nicer.

        In addition to a lot to sell from, you'll need a way to display the trees for sale, lighting for selling at night, signage, and some sort of shelter for inclement weather and to keep paperwork and cash. We offer to trim for a fresh cut, so an ax yard is also set up. The scouts also like to keep a camp stove handy to make hot chocolate.

        I think you will find that you can sell more than 100 trees. I'd pick the most visible location this year to try it. Doing two lots will double your financial outlay for tree supports, lighting, etc. and the number of shifts you need to run. Keep it simple while you work it out.


        • #5
          Sounds like a great idea if you have the manpower. Though security could be an issue. Now that the lowes and Home Depot are in on the business having competitive prices will be tough. I don't see many Boy Scout lots anymore. Last time I went to one was about 10 years ago they were priced well out of my budget.


          • #6
            I bought trees from local troops for close to 20 years. That is until the prices were double what the other lots were charging. Now cut down our own for $2/foot.


            • #7
              It all depends on the size of your locations and how much manpower you have. If you're in a major city then you'll have quite a bit of business as opposed to a lot selling in a more suburban area just due to the population density. 100 trees will therefore not really net you much of a profit, and this whole endeavor will be a missed opportunity for you to make back the money you lost. If you want great advice about buying wholesale Christmas trees may I suggest not relying on your one source - perhaps check out some farms that grow a massive amount of good quality trees and sell to various regions of the country. See link below for reference.


              • #8
                We sell approx 400 trees. The lot needs to be rent free. Signs advertising the tree lot need to start a quarter mile in each direction. Always let the customer tie the tree onto the car - never you guys. Lot needs to be occupied 24/7 even if not open (travel trailer with large propane tank), else some trees will walk off. Cash box needs to be very secure - as in bolted to the table - or it may also walk off


                • #9
                  All good ideas previous. My Troop sold trees in days of yore, and I have seen other Troops sell. My thoughts:
                  * Location, location, location. High traffic, high sales. etc. Parking for cars, pull over space.
                  * Security: You will read about folks stealing not one or two trees off unattended lots, but DOZENS . Keep the big supply off lot, but ready to bring in. See below about recruiting......
                  * Publicity: Signage, newspaper article, even TV time can and should be pursued. Lights at night. Music in the back ground. (?where's the electricity coming from?) Burn (as permitted) old scraps and trimmings. Pine smell can bring folks in. Don't forget the local BSA newsletter/email flash. Church newsletters, etc. Poster in the library.
                  * Scheduling the help. Insist on Scouts AND parents presence. Talk it up at every meeting. email, phone trees.
                  * Recruiting: Put that axe yard up front, where folks can see, where boys can see. Set up a tent, keep Scouts there in a camp, if possible! Cook some meals there! Dutch oven brownies! Peach cobbler (even if only canned peaches)! Sausage and eggs! Camp biscuits and honey!
                  Sell food or give away tastes!
                  * Make the friends of your local police and fire dept. (volunteer?). They can and will be willing to help, keep an eye on things, etc.
                  This is a real opportunity , if pursued effectively.

                  Have fun and Good Luck!