Buying a live Christmas tree for the holidays is not only a tradition for many families in Albuquerque, but it also helps local businesses give back to the community and keep their employees on board throughout the holiday season.
Chris Scott, store manager for Just Sprinklers at 9140 Montgomery Blvd. NE, says selling Christmas trees is great for business.
“Christmas is by far the best time of the year for Just Sprinklers. We’ve been doing this for almost a decade now,” Scott said. “We pride ourselves on bringing in the finest trees we can get and for us, particularly here at this location, it enables me to keep all my people on staff all winter when we would usually be laying people off seasonally and bringing them back in the spring.”
Just Sprinklers, which has three locations in Albuquerque, sells Christmas trees and firewood during colder months when fewer people are installing sprinklers. Inside the Montgomery location, customers are offered free hot chocolate, coffee and biscochitos while browsing for trees and landscaping products.
The Christmas trees at Just Sprinklers are grown in Oregon and Washington and include Douglas, Noble and Nordmann Firs.
“The Douglas’ are by far the most popular, the Douglas Firs. They are a big fluffy tree. They have a lot of smell to them,” Scott said, adding that it’s the type of tree customers from states like Connecticut or Vermont are looking for. “If you’re not native to the state, this is usually what brings people back in for that traditional Christmas tree they’re used to seeing. We cater to a lot of people that come in from out of state.”
A 6- to 7-foot Douglas Fir was selling for $109.55 while the same size Noble Fir was going for $129.99. A 7- to 8-foot Nordmann Fir was listed at $149.99.
“The Douglas is definitely a more price conscious tree for sure, but the Nobles and Nordmanns are the nice premium trees. They have a good look to them. They have sturdy branches. They hold their leaves really well. So, we like them a lot,” Scott said.
Recycle a tree to give back to the community
When the holidays are over and it’s time to take the Christmas tree down, Just Sprinklers will pick up and recycle the tree for free. All customers have to do is sign up on the store’s website, choose a pickup date and leave the tree and some non-perishable food items by the curb on the pickup date by 7 a.m.
“We pride ourselves on our free tree pickup service that we do every year,” Scott said. “It’s a canned food drive for Feed New Mexico Kids. Last year we did seven pallets of food donations from picking up trees.”
The 800 or so trees Just Sprinklers recycled last year went to an alpaca farm in the northern part of the state and to state fish hatcheries that use them for erosion protection in southern New Mexico.
“They don’t have to buy them from us. We’ll pick up your tree and recycle it for you. Just go to our website and get signed up. It’s a free service,” Scott said. “We just want to get as much food to Feed New Mexico Kids as we can.”
Not just Christmas trees: Just Sprinklers sells New Mexico-sourced products
In addition to landscaping products and Christmas trees, Just Sprinklers offers Estancia pinto beans as well as other locally sourced products throughout the year.
Scott said they get pumpkins from Estancia and sweet corn from Schewbach Farms in Moriarty in the fall. The store also sells locally produced honey when it is in season. They purchase pallets of pine firewood from Wallatowa Timber in Jemez Pueblo and red oak from Mexico that is shipped to Las Cruces.
“Everything else is locally sourced from the other side of the mountain,” Scott said of the firewood. “We have guys buy wood from them and they bring it down to us when they get it. Last year the city bought 26 cords of pine and gave it out to the elderly folk in the town.”
The city doesn’t have the budget to purchase more firewood this year, Scott said, but last year the city spent about $10,000 on pine wood “to give to the senior citizens of Albuquerque.”