Big box stores test local growers in Christmas tree market

Associate Editor

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Dec. 15, 2015) — The state nursery industry is dealing with two issues this holiday season, a Maryland Agricultural Commission representative said last week.
Big box stores continue to challenge Christmas tree sellers this year by undercutting on price and stocking poor-quality trees, said Ray Greenstreet, one of the industry’s commission representatives.
“It’s really pretty sad,” he said.
The box stores sell the trees at a loss to get customers in the door, he said, frustrated, at the commission’s monthly meeting.
Big box stores have always been a notoriously difficult competitor for independent Christmas tree sellers. Though some industry officials have said this season big box stores are weakening as a destination for tree buyers.
Greenstreet said he wished big box stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, would stick to selling products they’re known for, such as tools and construction materials.
“They can’t be everything to everybody,” he said.
There’s also a massive regional shortage of white poinsettias from Virginia to New York, Greenstreet said. The industry has been significantly affected by some grower consolidation in the area.