WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Finances are putting a damper on Christmas tree sales. At least, that's what some Christmas tree lots are reporting this season.
For 34 years, Barr Evergreens has made the trek to Wilmington from the NC mountains with a truck filled to the brim with Christmas trees. Now this lot is clearing out of here, with only handful of trees that didn't sell.
"Last year was one of the worst for us here in the retail side, but I think I've seen a little bit of an increase this year," said Barr Evergreens retail lot manager Phil Worth.
Worth says even though sales picked up, they also cut back on their stock.
"I didn't bring near the amount of trees I did last year and also the wreaths, roping and stands," Worth added.
That likely paid off. As they were loading up their few remaining trees, a last-minute customer took one more off their hands.
"We always kinda go for the deal," said shopper Tim Mills. "We wait til the end but we really don't have time until the week before Christmas anyway to go out and get the tree."
While some Christmas tree lots are packing up and heading home for the season other lots are still open, hoping to sell all their trees before Christmas. The Cape Fear Optimist lot at Kmart had 900 trees to sell. They're now down to about 75.
"We start the Sunday before Thanksgiving and we're normally out around this time but we still have trees. We plan to stay open until we sell them all," said Auston Pusey, with the Cape Fear Optimist Club.
They say more competition may have played a role in their reduced sales, that and the economy.
"I feel like it has," Pusey said. "A lot of people they don't seem to mind, they're just ready for a tree when they come in it's no problem but then you have other people, you can tell it's affected some."
And that trickle down effect hurts those who depend on sales. For the Cape Fear Optimist, that's all the children's programs their tree sales support.