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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Christmas tree seekers still in luck

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Normally at this time of year, Christmas trees are harder to find than an empty parking spot.

Tuyen Ngo of Diamond Head looks at one of the Noble Island Fir Christmas trees at the Canamore Farms Christmas tree lot, trying to decide which tree suits her best with the help of worker Jay Ah Hoy.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

With Christmas just a week away, tree sales again are brisk, with many retail stores selling out last week. But for those last-minute shoppers, Christmas trees are available, although they may be of the Charlie Brown variety.

The Home Depot store in Iwilei yesterday still had two containers on its lot, with each container holding about 400 trees. Home Depot brought in about 18 containers this year, said Harold Han, an auditor at the Iwilei store.

"They were going really, really well until (yesterday)," Han said. "It's kind of late already, usually they stop buying Christmas trees by now and start concentrating on their presents. But we did sell a lot of trees."

About 40 trees remained at the Canamore Farms lot on Kalakaua Avenue, but manager Ossie Omar said he probably will sell out by the end of today.

Statewide, the Christmas tree supply was drying up.

The Daiei stores at Kaheka and in Kailua sold out of trees last week. The Kmart store in Waikele reported "just a few" trees left yesterday afternoon.

The Kona Wal-Mart store sold out last week.

On Maui, many Christmas tree retailers are sold out. Lowes home improvement store in Kahului ran out last week, and there were no trees at the Star Markets in Kahului, Kihei and Honokowai.

One of the few places on Maui with trees left is Home Depot in Kahului — but they're going fast.

Doug Williams, assistant store manager, said he's down to his last 200 or so and expects them gone within the next three days.

Trees may be easier to come by on Kaua'i. The Kmart has "quite a few trees left," a store clerk said.

Seasonal tree outlets such as Cliff Laboy's on Kapi'olani have lowered their tents after selling out.

Omar said Canamore brought in about 1,500 fewer trees this year from its Oregon farm because of the downturn in the economy. Canamore's trees are slightly more expensive than the retail giants, but Omar said people this year still are willing to pay for a quality tree.

"Christmas is important to people, and it should be. It brings families together," Omar said.

Staff writer Timothy Hurley contributed to this report.