MIFFLINBURG, Pa. — In a massive open warehouse stocked with trees, wreaths, and more, groups and businesses from far and wide shopped wholesale for the holidays.
"It's a little overwhelming,” Mandi Cameron, of Mobile, Alabama, said of all the merchandise available.
Buffalo Valley Produce Auction, which touts itself as the largest Christmas tree auction in the world, auctioned off wreaths, ropes, and smaller items Thursday.
"It's pretty amazing what they have,” Curt Snyder, a Boy Scoutmaster from Delaware, said.
Snyder says his troop is looking to sell Christmas trees as a fundraiser but he and others say the wholesale prices are still high.
"It's a little high, but I can understand how prices can be with the demand right now,” he said.
"Everything's up, absolutely everything,” Kris Sweringen, a business owner from Elsmere, Delaware, said.
"Obviously with the tree shortage and inflation, prices are gonna go up this year,” Mandi Cameron said.
Cameron traveled about a thousand miles to stock her seasonal shop.
"The farmer we were originally supposed to buy from,” she said, “his crop this year got a disease."
And she's not the only one searching elsewhere for her trees and holiday goods.
"We mostly go to the Poconos, but this year our distributor couldn't supply us,” Curt Snyder said.
Amid a nationwide tree shortage, thanks to supply chain and climate change issues add pestilence to the problems.
"An insect that went through and killed a bunch of the Frasers off,” Snyder said.
Organizers say even though we are seeing tree shortages across the country, more trees are at the auction this year than last year.
"Could be the growers they don't want to deal with wholesaling themselves,” Mark Kurtz, the auction’s office manager, said.
Kurtz estimates around 50,000 trees are available this year, compared to last year’s 40,000. Still, he says, that number is nowhere near the amount they offered a decade ago.
"Ten years ago, we had probably 90,000,” he said.
Shoppers at the auction didn’t seem to be shying away from buying, to sell for profit.
“Gotta make our prices go up when their prices go up, so you just kind of pass it on,” Sweringen said.
"So far the response I've had from back home is I think everybody kind of expects that, so at least they may know that the price might go up a little bit,” Cameron added.
The trees will be auctioned off Friday.
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