Bradenton stand stocked with Christmas trees despite nationwide shortage

By Angie Angers, Reporter
Last Updated: Saturday, November 25, 2017, 5:19 PM EST

Picking out the right tree is a Christmas tradition for so many across the Bay Area, and at McKelvey Park in Bradenton the tree stand run by the Boys and Girls Club of Manatee County has been going strong for 63 years.

  • Bradenton stand has Christmas trees despite nationwide shortage
  • Stand run by Boys and Girls Club of Manatee County
  • Sale was in jeopardy, but group received 1,000 trees

“We visit different places, but our heart is here because we know it’s for a great cause," Bradenton resident Priscilla Figueroa said, as she picked out her tree.

All of the money made at the Manatee Avenue tree stand goes directly to the organizations. It is one of their biggest fundraisers of the year, and beings in between $35,000 and $40,000 annually. 

But this year, for the first time, the tree sale was in jeopardy. 

“When we contacted our grower this year, he wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to get us our trees," said Beth Clark, COO of the Boys and Girls Club.

The group's stand wasn't the only one uncertain how it would get trees. A nationwide shortage of fully-grown trees this year is putting distributors in a pinch. It takes about seven years for a Christmas tree to grow, which is when the recession was hitting, meaning growers weren't planting as many trees.  

The Boys and Girls Club made it work, and their grower was able to get a helping hand from another farm.

“I was relieved because it’s a big thing in our community, and I thought if we can’t get our trees or get all of our trees, then the kids are the ones that suffer," Clark said.  

They're receiving 1,000 trees in total and will be selling until Dec. 20, while supplies last.