The annual St. Davids Lions Christmas tree sale began Saturday, with no shortage of customers.
Lions and members of the Leo club, the service club for youngsters, unloaded a shipment of Fraser fir trees Saturday morning, and opened for business shortly after, says Lions club president Ted Burrows, who is also organizing this year’s sale.
“We’ve sold quite a few already,” he says, and expects the trees will sell out, as they typically do, in two weeks.
At 80 years old, the long-time Lion was happy to have a group of 20 Leos helping with the heavy work, and couldn’t say enough about the young people and their service to the community, and to the St. Davids Lions during their burger nights and fish fries.
“They were here Friday night helping us with the fish fry, and they were back again Saturday morning. They really want to help.”
While other clubs and retailers were struggling to get enough trees to meet demand, Burrows says it was no problem having their usual order of 600 trees filled, although it is coming from two tree farms, and on two different days.
For many years, the local club has ordered their trees from a Tillsonburg farmer, also a Lions Club member, who is retiring — this was his last year, and St. Davids received his final shipment of trees. Burrows says he was able to order more trees from another supplier, and they will arrive this Saturday, bringing the supply up to its full complement, and ensuring another successful fundraiser.
“This is a new tree farmer who planted 56,000 trees,” says Burrows. They’re all six to seven feet, and he’s just starting to sell them.”
The day after this year’s sale ends, he says, “I’ll be ordering trees for next year to make sure I get them.”
All the St. Davids club sells is Fraser fir, and has limited their sale to that one variety for several years, he says.
“They have a good reputation. We haven’t sold Scotch pine or spruce for a while. Fraser firs have a straight trunk, and they’re always good trees.”
The other factor the club has going for it is that the trees delivered on Saturday were cut Wednesday, and are as fresh as can be, while many of the bigger tree farms begin cutting in September.
The downside of fresh trees is that they are heavier, and it takes a couple of guys to carry them, he says.
One of their 11-foot firs is going to the cenotaph, a joint donation between the club and the supplier.
The annual tree sale, which has been going on for at least 30 years, Burrows says, now brings in about $15,000 to $20,000, to be spent on community and Lions projects.
The St. Davids Lions Club tree sale, at 1462 York Rd., is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tree prices range from $55 to $100.
Cornerstone Church on Niagara Stone Road in Virgil is again the site of the NOTL Lions Club tree sale.
Lion Terry Flynn is again organizing this year’s sale, having taken over from long-time Lion member John Skubel last year.
He was accustomed to Skubel checking in with him daily, he says, and will miss that this year.
The NOTL club has a good selection of trees, as well as a new variety for them.
Flynn has himself purchased a large, new sign for the lot, which says the sale is in memory of Skubel, whose wife and son will take over John’s customary shift on the weekend.
A supply shortage means fewer trees for the club this year, says Flynn, and a higher price, but he will have a good selection of four-foot to 12-foot trees, balsom, Fraser fir, a variety called Siberian spruce, and a “skinny” tree which is good for smaller spaces.
The shortage is of trees in the Fraser and Balsom six to 10 foot range, but they are making up for it with more taller trees, he says.
The tree sale, at 1570 Niagara Stone Rd., is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.