Money may not grow on trees, but the ones at the Laurinburg Optimist Club’s Christmas tree lot have certainly helped fill the group’ coffers.
Club members say this has been one of the best years ever for the tree sale, a decades-old tradition established to support the club’s youth sports program. This is the 49th year for the holiday sale.
“It’s certainly the best year in the past four, and maybe the best in the last 10,” said Optimist volunteer Bear Hughes.
Joined by fellow club member Ken Harrell in manning the lot on Friday, Hughes said that this year’s success had a lot to do with buying the right number of trees and even more to do with the good cause.
“That’s what I like so much about (the Optimist Club). People hear that name and they immediately want to help,” said Hughes from the lot, which sits in the shadow of Laurinburg’s Clinton Inn.
One group that played a big role in the success of this year’s tree lot was Southeast Specialty Haulers, a trucking company owned by Phil Butler.
When the Optimist club’s arrangement with the company that used to haul in its trees from the Appalachians expired, Butler’s company agreed to haul the trees themselves.
According to Harrell, they even made a special trip to the mountains just to bring down the trees.
“They just went and got them and brought them back. They had no other reason for going other than to help out,” Harrell said.
Hughes and Harrell both praised the work of Optimist Club’s Steve Cole as essential to the 2012 edition of the Optimist tree lot.
“He deserves a big part of the credit for how well this has gone,” Harrell said.
In addition to the Christmas trees, another popular item for sale at the lot has been holiday wreaths created by the women’s group at Central United Methodist Church.
Organized by Linda Aaron, the group has used the leftover tree trimmings from the sale to fashion attractive handmade wreaths, which are also sold along with garland.
The Christmas tree lot is open from 2-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon until 8 p.m. on Sunday. After Monday, the lot will transition to an honor system. The average tree costs about $40.
The lot is located next to the Clinton Inn and across from Taco Bell on the U.S. Highway 401 bypass.