NEW YORK — For 33 years, Billy Romp and his son, Henry, have been selling Christmas trees along the sidewalk on Jane Street during the holiday season.

But, this year, sales were better than expected.

"So, this year business went a little faster at the beginning than it usually does," Henry said Thursday. "We had a lot of customers showing up early in the season."

That could be partially due to people staying home and not traveling.

"I think that's part of it," Billy said. "My personal theory is that people want to latch onto something normal during this not normal year."

Many tree sellers NY1 spoke to were sold out by Wednesday. Some told us the supply also was down this year, in part because of the difficulty shipping trees during the coronavirus pandemic.

Usually, the Romp family orders about 200 trees from farms in North Carolina and Quebec, Canada. By the day before Christmas, they had only a few of the larger seven- and eight-foot trees left.

The last eight-foot tree kept blowing over from strong wind gusts. Some of the others kept toppling, too.

"On a day like today, we are running around, picking up the trees constantly. The wind knocks them down," Henry said. "We do sometimes try to tie them up to keep them from blowing over, but it’s not very effective."

But even when they blow over, they still make for nice trees to take home and decorate.

And the Romp family let us in on a little secret: while they don’t encourage people to wait until the last minute to buy their Christmas trees, you can wind up with a bit of a discount.

"Actually, I have to say yes. If you wait until the last minute, we are a lot easier to deal with. A lot easier," Billy said, "And my joke is they are really cheap tomorrow."

The Romps also sell smaller trees, perfect for some Manhattan apartments, as well as decorative wreaths if a tree is too much.

But for those who want the full package, some trees were still available — but probably not for long.


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