Thursday, November 10, 2011

Running a Christmas tree lot

Wow, what a week we’ve had. We arrived in San Antonio TX a week ago yesterday & parked at a future Christmas tree lot with other new lot manager couples. Of the six of us, two had Class As and 3 had 5th wheels. We all backed up to the electric source (kind of like circling the wagons). Here we are amongst all the sun blockers! LOL

We all had two very intense days of training then: the ladies on the cashier’s office, procedures & accounting; and the men on getting their tents and lots set up.

Sunday afternoon all the men went to the sight we were assigned to get the electricity, lights, water supply, & various areas set up.

Unfortunately, either Jeff or I had to be at our tent at all times until the chain-link fence got installed.  We were never scared or worried,  but we did feel slightly vulnerable parked beside a big tent in a big parking lot next to a restaurant (Jim’s, a popular Texas chain like Denny’s).

We had electricity Sunday night, but getting water from the restaurant next door took until Wednesday evening. AND. . .the fence company got confused & marked our lot as completed before they were even scheduled to set it up, so we FINALLY got the fence installed Wednesday evening also!

So here we are Thursday morning. . .behind our security fence.  All that’s left to feel at home here is to get the satellite dish set up on the roof, spread out the patio mat, & put up the awning. Unfortunately, the fence panels aren’t close enough to the ground/payment everywhere for me to trust Kira running loose inside the lot. Since we don’t have a golf cart like in Pagosa, I can’t ride around while she gets some serious exercise running along side the cart. I guess she’ll just get lazy from the few walks around the lot I take her for.

We’ve already had a half dozen people apply to work at the lot, starting next month (two of which worked here last year). And — we haven’t even put up the sign yet. We won’t actually get trees delivered until around the 20th, and we’re officially open for business the day after Thanksgiving — 11am-9pm Sun-Fri & 9am-9pm on Saturday.  We’re told to expect to sell a few trees even before we’re really open. I’m the only person allowed to operate the cash register & ring up the customers, so it’s gona be intense. And even with a cash register & credit card machine, there’s still quite a bit of record keeping & book-balancing. That’s OK tho since I actually ENJOY bean-counting. I’m also slightly addicted to spreadsheets, so I have all the numbers & dollars put in a spreadsheet (a workbook actually with 4 individual sheets) to do the adding & calculations for me. I’ve spent too many years using an adding machine, calculator, or computer for me to trust doing it in my head anymore.

And Jeff is like a pig in a puddle getting this tent & lot set up. The company has been GREAT giving us instructions, information, & tools, but this is the logistics that Jeff has worked at his entire adult life. In fact, since Jeff & I are both former military, we’ve also been very impressed with the organization & SOPs (that’s Standard Operating Procedures) provided by Holiday Hills Christmas Trees. They’ve got this business down to a fine science after 20-some years. We’re also very glad to be hiring veterans to work at the lot.

Oh, and the weather has not dropped below freezing at night yet, although we’ve had a few afternoons requiring the A/C in the trailer. Sitting on concrete without any shade warms up the inside pretty fast. After 7200’ elevation & at least 3 weeks of 22º nighttime temps, it hasn’t taken much for us to be uncomfortably warm here so far. And Kira has already started growing a new winter coat, so she’s thoroughly confused now with this move back to warmer weather. Gotta love it tho!

Here are some cute little flowers blooming at the back of our parking lot.


  1. Will be interested in how this gig goes. Always looking at new work camping possibilities.

  2. What a nice setup! Sounds like you guys are gonna be plenty busy during the holidays.


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