Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Few Updates ...

Last week we saw an article describing a news conference given by the Foreign Minister of China. In this address, he said fake trees made in China and shipped to the U.S. helps to conserve the U.S. environment. was such a ridiculous thing to say, we had to put out a news release refuting the statement. You can read it on our current releases page.

The winners of the Help Santa Find the Perfect Christmas Tree essay contest were announced. We had nearly 5,000 entries this year! Way to go kids! See the list of winners, their photos and essays here.

Speaking of the environment, particularly recycling...our partnership with EARTH 911 continues to yield results. The number of tree recycling sites listed in their online, searchable database went from 3,540 to 3,824. While the number of visitors to the recycling information on EARTH 911 web site went up over 15%.

Remember, if you have questions or suggestions for a blog topic, please send them in. Rest assured we do work all year, not just November and December!

No Rest in the Spring

Many people think that once Christmas is over, there is no more activity for the Christmas Tree industry. Actually there is ... in the warmer climates, planting of new seedlings begins in January, but in colder climates, they don’t start planting until May. After the season, growers and retailers take stock of everything needed for their business, decide what needs replacing, restocking, etc.

For our part here in the association office, we are busy with a marketing conference for the Christmas Tree industry that takes place in February. We work with news media on stories about tree recycling, and we even continue to get questions from consumers. Here’s a recent one from Ryan asking about starting a Christmas Tree business:

From: Ryan
Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2006

I have always been interested in starting a Christmas Tree Business to benefit the school where I teach, and other community programs. How hard is it to get started in this industry?

Answer: Well, "hard" is a subjective term Ryan.

If you are interested in operating a farm to grow Christmas Trees, the first requirement would be suitable land. We offer some general advice in the FAQs section because growing trees can vary greatly depending on where you are located.

If you are interested in operating a retail lot to sell Christmas Trees, that should be approached like any other retail business. First, find a location and secure approval to operate a seasonal retail business there. Check with municipal authorities on required licensing, code requirements, and other business filing. If you are a non-profit organization that can draw upon volunteer labor then hiring employees can be avoided.

Some people would consider all this hard, and other find it a breeze.