Black Friday: Big Business for Local Christmas Tree Farms

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

"There were probably a hundred people waiting for the doors to open at 9:00 this morning. It's just the day to get the Christmas season started. It's turned into a big business."

-Laurie Koelling, Tannenbaum Farms owner

Big retailers aren't the only ones cashing in on Black Friday.

Christmas tree farmers depend on this day for most of their sales. With a late Thanksgiving and beautiful weather, people are definitely in the holiday spirit.

"Some people are out shopping, we're out Christmas tree shopping," mother Kylene Volz said.

For her family and many others, going to Star Tree Farm in Mason has been a tradition for years, but for some, it was a first time experience.

"It was a little more work than I expected," mother Andrea Griffith said. "We originally planned to get a pre-cut, but then we got here and the whole ambiance made us decide we better cut one down ourselves."

That ambiance is part of the reason Ray Schmidgall has been in business for more than 20 years, with opening day always on Black Friday.

"We are very family oriented," Schmidgall said. "We tell people to bring their dog. If there's so snow, bring the sled, bring the children. They all go out together, and you can just see it on their faces when they get their tree. They've got the perfect tree for them."

There are plenty to choose from, but they're going fast. Schmidgall expects this to be a season worth celebrating.

"It looks like it's going to be a good harvest," Schmidgall said. "People are coming out, they're having fun."

Just a few miles away, the parking lot at Tannenbaum Farms was overflowing all day. The owners say 50 percent of their business comes from Detroit and Chicago, and many people come from all over the country.

"There were probably a hundred people waiting for the doors to open at 9:00 this morning," owner Laurie Koelling said. "It's just the day to get the Christmas season started. It's turned into a big business."

They'll sell about 1,000 trees on Friday alone, and 90 percent of those will be the so-called "Cadillac of Christmas trees": the Fraser Fur. Tannenbaum Farms has been specializing in the tree for almost 20 years, after it was one of the first farms in the region to grow it.

But for some, it's not the kind of tree that matters.

"I look forward to getting the gifts under the tree," 10-year-old Makennah Griffith said.

This is Tannenbaum Farms' 30th year selling trees.

For more information on both tree farms, visit the links below.


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