Not a tree in Tahoe these days
Aahh, Christmas in Tahoe. Snow-capped mountains, holiday lights and hundreds of gaily decorated Christmas trees brightening people’s homes.
Wait, not so fast. The bad news for those who don’t have a tree yet is that they probably won’t find one by Christmas. Most shops and tree lots have sold their entire inventory and aren’t expecting additional shipments. Sales people everywhere are turning customers away empty-handed.
“I ordered almost 900 trees this year, all sizes,” said Rite Aid manager Cliff Daniels. “About 400 of them were 4- to 6-foot Douglas firs and I’ve been sold-out since Sunday.”
Daniels got his first shipment of trees from the Oregon-based Signature Trees around Thanksgiving and sold his entire stock in 25 days.
“They were very nice, full trees. I think that’s why I sold out so fast,” Daniels said.”I know that everyone else in town is sold out, too. The next best thing I guess is artificial trees.”
Daniels noted that tree lots in Gardnerville and Carson City have sold their stock and suggests people might find some stragglers in Reno.
Supply One head cashier Mark Amin, is also turning anxious tree-seekers away. He only has 10 to 15 live trees left in the Meyers store, at $160 each.
“That’s all we’ve got left,” Amin said. “We got four or five shipments of about 150 trees each, and we sold out by Sunday.”
Supply One was the early-season shopper’s dream with trees priced at $7.99, $14.99 and $24.99, according to size. When their stock ran dry, Amin and his co-workers began directing people to some of the tree lots along U.S. Highway 50.
“There was a lot by the miniature golf course and one at Emerald Bay. They’re all out now, too,” Amin said. “This didn’t happen last year. We had a whole bunch of trees then. I think this year they’re saying they’re having trouble growing them.”
Another reason for the tree shortage, said Kmart Stores Sporting Goods manager Dennis Breig, is that fewer stores are carrying trees this year.
“Raley’s always had a whole bunch of trees out front. You couldn’t walk past the street there were so many trees, but they’re not selling any this year,” Breig said. “And a few other lots aren’t here this year that were selling last year.”
The next best option, artificial trees, are spare also. In fact, Kmart sold their entire stock two weeks ago. The big seller was the new 1,000 light fiberoptic tree. Breig said he sold at least a dozen, at $179.99 a tree.
“We ordered roughly about 150 to 200 trees,” Breig said. “They began dribbling in at the end of September and sold-out completely two weeks ago. The last bunch we got in the store we hadn’t even ordered. They were just emptying the warehouse and those were sold right away.”
For courageous souls willing to brave holiday traffic, it seems Reno is the only place to find a Christmas tree this late in the season.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Officials said conversations are occurring daily in regards to reopening U.S. Highway 50, but there is still no estimated date as to when traffic may start flowing again.