business owner runs 1,000 miles for Christmas trees | Business

MOBILE, Alabama (AP) – For Mandi Cameron, a resident of Alabama, traveling 1,000 miles to buy Christmas trees isn’t crazy. It’s just for business.

Cameron co-owns Pop’s Midtown with her husband Josh, a seasonal store in downtown Mobile that changes according to the schedule.

In the fall, the business housed a pumpkin patch. In a few months, this will be the hotbed of all things Mardi Gras.

For the past few weeks, however, it has been home to a winter wonderland.

This is Mandi’s second year at the Buffalo Valley Product Auction in Mifflinburg, Pa., A business that bills itself as “the world’s largest Christmas tree auction.”

They sell over two days, but most people are there on a particular day when over 40,000 beaded Christmas trees are sold.

“You have to go to Pennsylvania to get the best,” Mandi said. “The Christmas tree game is serious.”

At the auction, Mandi said people from as close as Tuscaloosa and as far as the West Coast were there to buy, too.

“Everything was hot commodity this year,” Mandi said. “We bought a lot of big trees, but a lot of people couldn’t get them. “

Mandi added that there were twice as many people this year trying to fight for a smaller tree supply.

While the supply chain is somewhat to blame for the shortage, she said many of the trees that reached maturity this year were planted in 2008, at the start of an economic recession.

As demand was down during this time, fewer were planted.

“You have to know what you want around the month of May,” Mandi said. “You have to fight to get the trees you want.”

Despite the reduced supply and the higher costs, Mandi said business at Pop’s was great.

With offerings from the well-known fraser firs to the flocked trees (trees covered in a biodegradable white mixture to give the illusion of snow), people come from all over to buy.

The demand was so great that Mandi said that on the day of the installation, there were people at the gates of the business even before the opening, trying to be the first to buy a tree from the lot.

“It’s been chaos since we opened,” Mandi said. “We have an excellent clientele. “

Pop’s has closed for the season, but soon they will be open again for Mardi Gras, offering a variety of items to get into the spirit of the carnival season. But this time next year, the store will once again be a winter wonderland.

“Every Christmas tree for me is pretty,” Mandi said. “Christmas trees have always been a big deal in my family and I never thought I would sell them one day. “

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