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Blog // Connect Michigan

One Click to Christmas Trees

By Eric Frederick

Michigan residents looking for a live evergreen for their Christmas party can look online this year to find the closest wholesale and retail Christmas tree farms. Technical services group Courtland Consulting has redesigned the Michigan Christmas Tree Association (MCTA) website and made it easier for consumers, distributors, and producers to find each other. Their online map feature brings the Christmas tree tradition online, allowing consumers to survey tree farms in their area with one click.

Interfacing with Google Maps, visitors can use the interactive map feature online to find a retail lot or choose a farm from near their location. Scrolling over the farm, visitors can see the address, phone number, hours of operation, and when the first day of Christmas tree cutting begins. They can also see the types and heights of trees available and other goods and services the farm provides, such as tree shaking, drilling, tree stand sales, garland, wreaths, and more. Families looking for the nearest tree farm can find it easily, while others looking for a special order can find the farms that stock their trees.

Location and environmental factors both play a role in choosing trees. Many consumers don't want to search through rural areas to find a Christmas tree farm, and others don't want to damage the environment by cutting down a tree, so they use plastic trees instead.

“People don't realize that it's coming from a farm and it's helping the economy,” said Michelle LeFeve, Executive Director of Courtland Consulting. Like any agricultural commodity, Christmas tree farms grow their pines each year with the sole purpose of cutting them down. Christmas tree farms are seasonal and local, usually linked to another type of farm or another store, and purchasing a live tree from a local retailer or wholesaler keeps business in the state. The consumer takes home a beautiful, traditional tree, and Christmas tree farmers can grow their business. “It's a win-win situation for all.”

The new online capabilities through MCTA also make it easier for retailers to find the trees their customers want. The wholesale section allows retailers to specify the tree species, specify additional features they want, and find any wholesalers who can fill their need.

Consolidating the locations of Christmas tree farms takes the guesswork out of advertising and marketing, creating a single, reliable, easy-to-use application for the seasonal enterprise. As more consumers visit the site they save time looking for trees and as more distributors and wholesalers make listings, they save money on advertising.

More and more agricultural enterprises are using online networks to connect with distributors and consumers, from Christmas trees in Michigan to peaches in South Carolina. Stay in touch with www.connectmycommunity.org to see how broadband is changing industries and communities near you.

 



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