Hello again!

I always looked forward to the Christmas tree selling season at Johnson's when I was in high school. From unloading the trees the week before Thanksgiving to hanging them for display and flocking them, it was always an adventure. You can imagine the mischief that we got into when Dad wasn't around.

We always went the extra mile when selling Christmas trees; in fact, we still do. From cutting off the trunk end of the tree to running the tree through the tree netter (so you don't resemble the Griswolds), we prepare every tree for travel when it's purchased, and not a minute before.

Speaking of cutting off the end of the tree, that little stump made for a great Pine Ball competition. The goal of Pine Ball was to see who could hit the bucket from a given distance. These tournaments were a tradition at Johnson's. Al Brimer, a Riverside resident who worked at the store, always won.

There was more than one time that I can remember someone being chased down and run through the tree netter. I think my little brother Linden probably was wrapped more than his fair share of times.

Flocking trees was also a tradition at Johnson's, but one that we no longer do. A 'tent' would be built in the corner of the warehouse and the tree was put on a stand, sat on a turntable and the lucky person would get to 'flock' the tree. It was like a vacuum cleaner in reverse, blowing the fiber on the tree. A 'snowball' fight was a daily occurrence around the flocking tent. We still cut the end off of the trees, net them, and even deliver, set up and remove them if you'd like for us to do so. Just give us a call. (But watch out, you might get netted!)

Holiday plants have always been a tradition at Johnson's. We've always offered top quality poinsettias for the season. Poinsettias are in stock, as well as Christmas cactus, paperwhite bulbs, potted evergreens, amaryllis (including waxed bulbs!) and cyclamen. It's such a colorful time in the greenhouse.

This Saturday is Shop Small Saturday. Here are my top reasons for shopping local this Christmas:

For every $100 spent at a local, independent business, $63 returns to the community, compared to $43 when spent at a national chain.

Local businesses have unique, often higher quality products than the big guys.

Helps create an attractive, vibrant community.

Employees are generally more knowledgeable, in turn, offering you better customer service.

Reduces the environmental impact of shipping.

Creates/sustains local jobs.

Parking close to the door; no need to walk for blocks!

You build a relationship with local merchants who love to see your smiling face walk through their door. They appreciate you as much as you appreciate them.

It is inevitable that we will shop from the big box stores and online, but I encourage you to keep in mind the benefits of shopping local this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving from Johnson's!

Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Center