Sellers surprised by high demand for big evergreens

Families who are waiting until the weekend to buy their Christmas trees may be in for a shock.

Across the board, retailers throughout Hilo are unable to keep up with demand for the big evergreens as the holiday spirit inspires shoppers to open their wallets.

“All over Hilo, there are less Christmas trees this year,” said Chris Behle of KTA Super Stores on Puainako Street. “They better get ’em now.”

“There are way less trees this year. People are asking for certain varieties, certain types of trees, and they aren’t there any more,” he said. “The public needs to know there’s no trees out there. They’re running out.”

Behle wouldn’t say how many trees KTA has ordered, but he confirmed that those on display at the front of the store are the last of their shipment. As of midday Tuesday, everything higher than 7 feet had sold out.

“I really felt in the recession, people would go for a reasonable-sized tree,” Behle said. Now, he feels that if a store ordered 200 10-footers, they’d be all gone.

“I don’t think you can find a big tree on this island,” Behle said.

Lesley Hill, the proprietor of Paradise Plants, said that interest is so strong that some people want to preorder their trees for Christmas 2011.

This year, big is back. Paradise Plants’ tallest trees were priced at a high of $245, but they were sold out in the first day and a half after going on sale. Like KTA, the store still carries trees for as low as $30, but almost all are between 4 and 7 feet.