RIO RANCHO, N.M. — John Seaver had a lot — a literal lot — of beautiful Christmas trees a few days before Christmas that are probably bound for the mulch pile.
“It’s a short story,” Seaver said.
Although the extra trees turn out to be a problem created by the company he buys the trees from (the name of the company is apparently a trade secret) and didn’t wind up costing him any money, the idea that it’s a short story, it turns out, is not entirely true.
“Every year, buying and selling trees is a different experience,” he said.
Seaver, who owns Just Sprinklers in Rio Rancho at the southeast corner of NM 528 and Don Julio Road and also has a location in Albuquerque, said he’s sold about 900 trees outside his lots this year. That’s 400 trees sold from in front of the Rio Rancho location and about 500 at the location on Montgomery Boulevard, between Wyoming and Eubank boulevards.
Despite having a banner year selling trees, on Monday he had about 750 of the evergreens left in stock, he said.
Part of the reason is the company he buys from made its first shipment a week early, sending out a bunch of trees that had to be put up around Thanksgiving.
“We were scrambling to get them set up,” he said.
Then, Seaver decided to join with Cliffs Amusement and Water Park, which opened for the holiday season, and try to sell some trees in the parking lot. Seaver said he and his crew thought people would be filled with the spirit of Christmas and want to memorialize it by buying a tree.
“We thought, oh man, we’re going to sell 500 trees,” he said. “We sold seven, I think. People weren’t coming there to buy a tree. … It turned out to be a real bummer.”
They were there for two weekends, he said, and decided to throw in the towel. But by then, for a second time, the company he buys trees from had put in an order early and a fresh batch of trees was already on its way.
“We called a week in advance and they had already shipped the truck,” he said.
Once the pine needles had settled, Seaver found himself with about 1,650 trees. The company tried but was unable to sell the excess trees to other lots, he said.
So, although Seaver’s company wasn’t charged for the trees, he had a forest in front of his business.
“We donated about 25 trees,” he said.
Some went to churches in Rio Rancho. About five trees went to San Felipe Pueblo, north of Bernalillo, where they were decorated and auctioned off to benefit the pueblo’s children with disabilities.
“That was kind of nice, because it’s always a good feeling to be able to donate something,” he said.
Before it opened and while the shop in Rio Rancho was being renovated in the fall and winter of 2012, Seaver said he was able to sell 200 trees in Rio Rancho, so tree sales have doubled this year, he said.
He added that he enjoys selling trees and hearing about how the trees figure into people’s lives.
“People will tell you stories and you’re literally holding back tears,” he said. “You’re selling a memory to these people, and they allow you to share in that, which is really powerful. I got a kick out of that.”