JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — A Christmas tree lot says it's been overwhelmed with calls from locals asking whether it'll be open this year. Fears around the pandemic have kept many sellers at home.
It's a family business, situated in the Meijer parking lot at 10th Street and Allison Lane in Jeffersonville.
"We’ve got the most beautiful trees you’ll ever see," said owner of Martin's Christmas Tree Lot, John Martin. We’ve got the Fraser Fir, Balsam Firs, Majestic Fraser Firs, White Pine."
He spent Thursday and Friday morning unloading close to 4,000 freshly cut trees, all ready to go home. Martin runs one of the few tree lots in Southern Indiana.
"We had a person from Madison come here, and we didn't even have trees up," said Martin. "It was 8:30 in the morning and she said, 'I gotta have a tree now.'"
He's well-known throughout the state. He owns a landscaping company year-round and has run this tree lot, during the holidays, for the last 52 years. He plans to hand it over to his grandson, John Taylor, someday soon.
Both have witnessed the ups and downs in the industry and the toll it’s taken on farmers and local sellers.
"I know the artificial trees have taken over a lot," he said. "At one time we were selling Christmas trees, like bam, bam, bam. The biggest year we ever had, we had over 14,000 trees."
Martin used to have a second location in New Albany, but this year, decided against it.
"We had a great success, but we just didn’t have enough help and we decided with COVID to just control this lot," Martin said.
Months ago, he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to open this one.
"We were really scared at what it was going to do to our business. But we’ve have several calls in the last month, saying, are you going to open? When are you open? What about the corona? I said, we’re planning on being open and being safe about it and hope and pray no one gets it," Martin said.
Following all the CDC guidelines, he's also expanded the tree lot so there’s more room to walk between the trees and if you want to stay in your car, no problem.
"Call us, tell us what size tree you want, what you want to spend and we’ll put them in your car," Martin said.
With each purchase comes an invitation to keep the tradition alive next year.
"We send out a Christmas card to every customer who walks on this lot," he said.
"We’re open now. Come down and get your tree. Shop early."
For contact information and to keep up with Martin, visit the tree lot's Facebook page.