Christmas tree seller Pam's Trees has no location this year


In this Nov. 30, 2011 file photo, Haskell and Melanie Martin and their daughter Sage wait for assistance after selecting their Christmas tree at Pam's Trees located in Thornebrook Village. The tree stand won't be back this year.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Friday, November 2, 2012 at 2:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 2, 2012 at 2:06 p.m.

Niya Dix said she is beside herself now that she won’t be able to get a Christmas tree from Pam’s Trees this year.

The tree stand will not be allowed to return to Thornebrook Village for a second year after moving over from the nearby Marketplace Shopping Center last year. And after 21 years, Pam Pigue and her family have been unable to find a suitable alternative.

Dix, a 36-year-old Jonesville mother of two young girls, said her family has bought “perfect” 12-foot trees from Pam’s on the day after Thanksgiving every year since she got married nine years ago.

“It’s one of those things when you have little kids (that) they look forward to going to get the tree. They asked me two months ago, ‘When are we going to go to that lady and get the tree?’ ” she said. “It has become a part of our tradition, and we don’t have that anymore.”

Pam’s had been in the Marketplace Shopping Center at Northwest 43rd Street and 16th Boulevard for 16 years, selling 1,500 to 2,000 trees a year. In 2010, a new condition in the stand’s temporary lease limited sales to “only” Christmas trees, and The Fresh Market demanded that Pam’s stop selling wreaths in competition with them. The landlord allowed them to continue selling wreaths that Christmas.

Pam’s Trees was not allowed to return in 2011. Aaron Pigue, Pam Pigue’s son, said the landlord would not give a reason, but they think it was because of the wreath controversy.

Thornebrook Village allowed Pam’s Trees to set up last year on a trial basis, but in January they informed the Pigues they would not be allowed back this year.

David Arrighi of Thornebrook Gallery is president of the owners association board of directors. He said the owners voted unanimously to deny another lease because the trees blocked the view of the shopping center from Northwest 43rd Street, which has 70,000 cars a day passing by.

“We decided it was not in the best interest of the Village to have the view of the Village blocked in one of the most important retail months of the year,” Arrighi said. “Road frontage is part of why we are where we are.”

He said traffic was down in the shopping center during the holidays, although it is difficult to judge how much had to do with the economy or the blocked view.

“I feel bad for them. We’re all in business, and we’re all trying to get by,” Arrighi said.

Aaron Pigue said Pam’s brought extra business into the shopping center.

Pam Pigue said they were turned down on a couple locations on Newberry Road while other available locations were “off the beaten path.” She said they “begged” Thornebrook in October to let them come back for a year so they could gather contact information from customers but were turned down.

Even if a good location were to come up now, she said it is too late to get Scotch pine and blue spruce from their growers in Michigan and they’d be cutting it close on Fraser firs from North Carolina.

Pigue said they will try to come back somewhere next year.

“It’s very tiring work. It’s very hard work. But it’s the customers. It just breaks my heart for them,” she said.

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