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Snow takes toll on Christmas tree farms

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Joe Teal, owner of Teal’s Tree Farms in Bark River, puts signage at his business back up after a snowstorm Wednesday. It took Teal’s two days to get plowed out from the storm, which hit the area last weekend.

BARK RIVER — While it is common for people to wish for a white Christmas, a snowstorm that hit the area last weekend has created problems for local Christmas tree farms.

Among these farms is Teal’s Tree Farms, located in Bark River.

“It’s been pretty rough — all this snow has made it tough,” owner Joe Teal said.

In the 24-hour period ending at 7:15 a.m. Monday, Escanaba’s water plant recorded 16 inches of snow. According to spotters reporting snowfall totals to the National Weather Service, some areas of the city saw as much as 22.9 inches of snow.

The National Weather Service said roughly 20 inches of snow were recorded in Gladstone. The Rapid River area saw 18 inches.

Teal’s Tree Farms opened to the public on Black Friday. On that day, Teal said sales of Christmas trees were strong.

“The sales were really good before the snow came,” he said.

However, the farm had to take down its front tree lot the following evening in preparation for heavy snowfall. It took Teal’s two days to get plowed out from the storm, and it fully reopened Tuesday.

“We lost two days of sales,” Teal said.

Although business at Teal’s has started to recover, Teal said the snow has continued to have an impact on its customers — especially those who prefer to cut their own trees.

“We’re kind of advising them to bring a shovel so they can dig around the tree,” he said.

Teal said the snow has also made it “100 times tougher” for people working at the farm to cut trees.

“We’re doing the best we can,” he said.

Along with its Christmas trees, Teal’s sells wreaths and other evergreen products to floral wholesalers in the region. The business’ last truckload of these products was set to leave on the day the storm hit; however, the truck was not able to head out until 3 a.m. Monday.

“That was a challenge, but we got it,” Teal said.

As of Wednesday, Teal said it was still too early to say how the storm will affect sales at Teal’s Tree Farms in the long run. He noted tree sales this weekend — traditionally one of Teal’s busiest — should paint a clearer picture of how the rest of the season will go.

Still, he said the resilience shown by local residents should help.

“They’re used to this stuff, for the most part,” Teal said.

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