By Gene Park

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Dec. 12) - Thousands of fresh Christmas trees have been sold throughout the island, and people selling them expect their supply to sell out soon.

In their 17th tree sale on the island, the Guam Girl Scouts has less than 150 trees -- of the more than 500 ordered -- were left as of yesterday.

Guam Girl Scouts Executive Director Vickie Fish said although the organization is one of the last groups on the island to start selling trees, sales have been steady, with all accessory items sold out on day one.

"Some families choose to decorate after Thanksgiving," Fish said. "Many people like to use the weekend of Our Lady of Camarin to prepare for Christmas.''

"We want to serve our customers well because they didn't have Christmas last year,'' she said, referring the the island's struggles after the Dec. 8, 2002, devastation caused by Pongsona.

Toto resident Tom Herrera, 35, said his family will go tree hunting this weekend.

"I want to take my little boy to pick the tree. We didn't have a really good Christmas last year, so this year is going to be good," Herrera said.

Michael Leon Guerrero, 33, of Talofofo, said he won't be buying a fresh tree this year because he has been using an artificial one since 2001.

"It's much cheaper this way. All you have to do is throw on the decorations and make your house cold so it's like winter," said the father of three.

But tree sales show that many are opting for real trees, vendors say.

Alan Nego, a sales clerk for Cost-U-Less, said Douglas firs have been sold out. The Douglas firs went for $32.98, the cheapest trees at Cost-U-Less.

"The next fastest-selling trees are the 6-foot, Noble fir trees," said Nego, 30, of Dededo. "Right now, people are still coming here and buying."

Cost-U-Less supervisor Bianca Duenas said since the store started selling trees the day after Thanksgiving, almost 700 of the 900 trees ordered have been sold.

"This weekend, hopefully, we'll be all sold out," Duenas said.

PriceSmart General Manager Vicente Cruz said they have sold over 400 6- to 7-foot Douglas firs since last week, with less than 100 to go.

"We're not sure when we expect to sell out, but maybe as Christmas nears, sales will be faster," Cruz said.

At the Girls Scouts, Fish said customers can get a 25 percent discount off the Oregon-grown trees if they ask for a discount coupon at a Nissan Motors car lot.

About 70 volunteers, who consist of Girl Scouts parents, high school students and employees, are helping to sell Girl Scouts trees. Fish said the tree sales generate about 25 percent of the Girl Scouts' operating budget.

December 12, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com


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