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Christmas tree shortage impacts 4-H club's annual fundraiser

Spokesperson says COVID appears to have spurred the shortage
MVT stock Christmas tree
Each Christmas season, for 19 years, Ropes N’ Reins has been selling Christmas trees in the Westview Co-op parking lot as a fundraiser but not this year. File photo

OLDS — A spokesperson for the Ropes N’ Reins 4-H Club says after 19 years, it won’t be able to sell Christmas trees this year, because there’s a shortage and suppliers prefer to deal with big box stores that buy large volumes of trees. 

Alisha Walroth said they got the word from their supplier. 

Walroth was speaking on behalf of her daughter Payton, the Ropes N’ Reins reporter, who was in school, so unavailable. 

“Every year our trees have been getting a little bit less due to the big box stores. (They) have more say, of course, than little clubs do,” she said. 

"I'm not quite sure how COVID exactly affects that but whether it’s the staffing or supplying – getting supplies, you know, getting trees growing -- they’re saying due to COVID, of course there’s a shortage of Christmas trees which then, first pick goes to big box stores so then all the little guys underneath of course get cut.” 

She said each Christmas season, for 19 years, the club has been selling Christmas trees in the Westview Co-op parking lot as a fundraiser. 

Walroth was asked if this shortage means the club will never again be selling Christmas trees. 

"That’s what we are understanding,” she said. “Now next year we were thinking of possibly trying a different supplier, but again, big box stores, if they’re going to purchase 5,000 trees and we only want 80 trees, of course we’re going to get bumped.” 

"We just wanted to thank the community, because the community and Westview Co-op have supported us for 19 years,” she said, adding Christmas tree sales have been a “fantastic” fundraiser for the club. 

Westview Co-op general manager Mike Issak was sad to hear of the club’s plight, adding he’d love to continue supporting it. 

He pledged to discuss the matter with his staff to see if there’s anything they can do to help. However, he was doubtful they’d be able to get trees for Ropes N’ Reins if the club, which has been dealing with suppliers for 19 years, can’t. 

“I’m not sure what we can do at this point to help find trees for them. If they can’t get them I doubt that we’ll be able to get them," Isaak said, saying it’s his understanding that those trees are normally ordered far in advance of the season. 

But he agreed that sometimes miracles can happen. 

"You never know, right? You never know,” he said.