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Holiday Shoppers Start Early to Avoid Supply Chain Woes

WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS) - The days following Thanksgiving are centered on holiday shopping, 'Black Friday', 'Small Business Saturday', and 'Cyber Monday', but supply chain issues may make it more challenging for shoppers to find specific items.

A centerpiece for many households: Christmas trees, fresh cut and artificial. Both are in shorter supply this year due to impacts from weather and supply chain delays.

Fresh cut Christmas trees have been impacted by supply chain delays, drought, fires in Oregon (where many Sacramento-area sellers buy their trees) and there may be shorter supply this season. Add to that: demand.

"Other than the fuel prices, you know, tree prices have gone up a little bit. We expect it to be a good year," said Chad Ericson, owner of Chad's Christmas Trees, told CBS13 in October.

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Ericson's business was booming. He said nothing had changed, but the customers he expected to come on the opening weekend after Thanksgiving were then -- and then some.

Ericson's been in business for 19 years and is no stranger to industry impacts that, he said, don't phase him anymore. Last year, at the height of the pandemic, he said he was 'sweating', worried about customers showing up. They did, and now, he is expecting more this year.

He reserved his shipment of trees in July. He added a few extra to his order to accommodate customers who may not have come last year, or, who can't find a tree at the "other guys."

"The reason for the shortage, of course, is for the drought, fires. The weather, this year as terrible. A lot of the bigger buyer, Home Depot or Lowe's, we don't expect them to have as many trees," said Ericson.

Holiday shoppers, looking for their perfect tree at Ericson's shop, changed their plans to come earlier this year.

"We typically buy them later in the year, but I figured if we waited any later or any longer then we would have a harder time," said Megan Heringer.

She said she went to two stands before she found a selection of trees -- because on top of shortages, trees may be more expensive because gas prices are higher.

"I was a little worried about finding a Christmas tree farm, I didn't want to get it from just anywhere. I like to support small businesses," said Jaimi Gotro, who is celebrating her first Christmas with her daughter and fiancé.

It's not just trees that may be in shorter supply as the weeks go on, but the decorations for the holidays, too.

"That's what motivated us to get it done now, soon as possible, we wasn't sure what was supposed to happen," said Robert Mays, a holiday shopper who was out buying decorations for his home.

Mays said his family got their Christmas tree two days after Thanksgiving to avoid shortages, and while they waited for it to be flocked, stopped to get the decorations.

He said he wasn't going to risk it. Other shoppers had the same mindset.

"So, when I got here she was able to go look in the stock room, and I got the stuff that I needed, so I was amazed with that," said Roselyn Prasad, a holiday shopper.

Prasad said she wanted to get as much done as she could as early as possible. Her stop on Saturday was to pick-up a gift for her sister, a candle, and the store she said wasn't as busy as she thought it would be.

If you're in the market for an artificial tree or other Christmas decoration – be patient. That's the advice from Balsam Hill's Vice President of Operations Mike Shaughnessy.

He added: "It will be a little bit more sporadic. It will be on the consumer to look multiple times to find what they're looking for."

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