Christ­mas tree ven­dors an­tic­i­pate hol­i­day rush

The Star (Jamaica) - - FEATURE - AN­DRÉ WIL­LIAMS Staff Re­porter

For close to 30 years, Mar­garet ‘Bar­bara’ Ed­wards has been sell­ing Christ­mas trees dur­ing the Yule­tide sea­son in the vicin­ity of Mall Plaza in Half-Way Tree. Dur­ing a visit yes­ter­day, Ed­wards told THE STAR that the busi­ness of sell­ing trees has evolved over the years.

“It can be dif­fi­cult, but it’s re­ward­ing. The sea­son has just be­gun, so is a wait and see. This com­ing week­end is usu­ally when things be­gin to pick up,” she said.

She told THE STAR that the trees are only sold for a few weeks, as the greater part of the busi­ness is get­ting the trees ready for the sea­son.

“Is just for like 24 days I am out here. I used to be by the front there, but Mr Scar­lett gave me these two car park­ing spa­ces to op­er­ate,” Ed­wards said.

“More and more peo­ple have started to sell as well. I’m here up un­til Christ­mas Eve. I started this sea­son af­ter I re­ceived an or­der for five trees. My hus­band is the planter, he works right through the year so that we have trees to sell. I em­ploy two per­sons who are here with me.”

MORE IN­TENSE

Ed­wards ad­mit­ted that sell­ing Christ­mas trees is a com­pet­i­tive busi­ness.

“Every­body out here sell­ing, and it can be hos­tile. The closer it gets to Christ­mas, the more in­tense it gets,” Ed­wards told THE STAR. “If you do it prop­erly, and peo­ple see what they (cus­tomers) want, then you will earn. Mi a deal with a cus­tomer and she ask for a eight-foot tree and she come and see an­other ven­dor with a bet­ter look­ing tree and she buy from them. That’s how it goes.”

Ed­wards’ cus­tomers jour­ney from as far as Mon­tego Bay to pur­chase trees. And for as low as $4,000, she said that a cus­tomer could drive away with a Christ­mas tree of his/her choice.

“If we have a tree and it not fresh as a newly cut tree, then we sell it cheaper. But it’s nor­mally from $4,000 up that we start the sell­ing price,” she said.

Our news team also spoke with Caswell Mc­Far­lane, whose role in the Christ­mas tree busi­ness is es­sen­tial.

Mc­Far­lane, who said he used to sell trees, now utilises his me­tal work skills to build stands so the trees can stand firm.

“An old friend in­tro­duced the idea to me, and since then I turned it into a busi­ness,” he told THE STAR, not­ing that the busi­ness im­proves ev­ery year.

Ja­son Mon­teith, one of the planters, ex­plained that the en­tire process starts with the grow­ers.

Mon­teith said: “We have to set the nurs­ery, plough up the place, get the seeds, dry dem and sow dem. We then wait ‘til the tree hatch then trans­plant it. Af­ter that we fer­tilise and wa­ter it ‘til it catch.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mon­teith, it usu­ally takes two to three years be­fore a tree is ready.

“That de­pends on how you take care of the tree,” he told THE STAR, point­ing to a tree that they planted at the shop­ping mall last year.

These men help David Dukha­ran (left) to get the tree on top of his ve­hi­cle. Mar­garet ‘Bar­bara’ Ed­wards has been sell­ing Christ­mas trees for al­most 30 years.

ER­ROL CROSBY PHO­TOS

Ja­son Mon­teith has been plant­ing Christ­mas trees for years.

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