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Time is running out to put up Christmas trees
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Justin “Sully” Sullivan comes to “spruce” up the one remaining tree from western North Carolina Sunday afternoon at Cooper Tree Farm. Sunday was the last day of business this holiday season for the Braselton business that resells trees and grows their own on 25 acres. “It’s not a beautiful one,” Sullivan said of the sole survivor missing much of its top, “but it’s the last one.” - photo by NAT GURLEY

BRASELTON — With Christmas only nine days away, time is running out to buy, set-up and decorate the family Christmas tree.

Cooper’s Tree Farm in Braselton normally stays open until at least Dec. 18, said Kathy Cooper, co-owner of the farm along with her husband, John Cooper.

This year, the farm sold out of pre-cut Christmas trees a lot sooner than expected. Their last day of selling this year was Sunday.

Those who showed up Sunday were able to cut their own trees from the farm before the business closed for the season.

Cooper said the farm normally opens on or around Thanksgiving day, but with Thanksgiving falling later than normal this year, they opened Nov. 20, eight days before Thanksgiving.

“We had our three busiest days in a row on Thanksgiving weekend — Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” she said. “We had a really good season. (We) met a lot of great people. We had a lot of customers (on Sunday.)

“I really didn’t think we would sell out. Those first three days after Thanksgiving were 75 percent of our business. We sell a lot of trees. We’ve been selling trees for 34 years.”

The 25-acre farm houses trees of different sizes during the season. Cooper said they sold a lot of trees that were in the 7- and 8-foot range.

She also said they sold trees as tall as 15 feet. Some of those, she added, were sold to residences, but most of that size went to businesses.

Cooper also said business was good, even with rainy weekends this season; however, the rain made for a mess.

“It was brutal for so many days,” she said.

Justin “Sully” Sullivan, a worker of the farm, said, “It has been a strange year,” when talking about the weather and the trees selling so fast.

“There was no time to really enjoy it this year,” he said. “We were either busy, or it was nasty outside.”

Cooper said business this season shows the community still enjoys going to tree farms and picking one out as a family.

“The good part is families are more interested in the tree farms,” she said. “(The farm selling out) shows the popularity of the farms.”

“People also made comments that they wanted to ‘buy local.’ They realize how important that is to the community. The thing is, if you keep a farm going like this one, then you get generations coming back, and the next generation brings their kids.”

Tommy and Holly Verrett brought their three children, Lane, 14, Zack, 9, and Carter, 6, Sunday to buy a Christmas tree for only the second time as a family.

“We have lived in Braselton for three years,” Tommy said. “They didn’t have (Christmas tree farms) where we are originally from (Houma, La.).

“It’s a family thing. You get to spend time with the kids. They enjoy it. It’s all a part of the Christmas spirit.”

Holly Varrett said the children wanted the biggest tree on the farm, but they needed to able to decorate it, so, they chose a smaller tree.

Even with competition from other farms and retail stores, Cooper knows how important a good season can be to everyone.

“I hope everyone had good retail (sales) this year,” she said. “It will make January better. Whenever everyone has good luck (in sales) and good business, it gives them confidence going into the next year.”

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