Boy Scouts adding Christmas trees to Promenade offerings

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Shoppers rushing to complete their Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving will be able to buy one of the holiday’s most essential decorations while at Alabaster’s Colonial Promenade shopping center.

Boy Scout Troop 547, which is based in Alabaster, will begin its first-ever Christmas tree sale in the parking lot between Lowe’s and Belk Nov. 26.

The trees will range in height from about 5-8 feet, and will begin at about $30. The troop will sell different types of trees, like Douglas firs and Frazier firs, and price will vary depending on the type and height of the tree, said Scout Master Jim Reichard.

“Our goal is to run the sale the next two or three weeks after Black Friday,” Reichard said. “This is the first year our troop has done a tree sale at all.”

Because this will be the Alabaster troop’s first tree sale, a Vestavia troop helped the local Boy Scouts order the trees from a wholesale distributor and ensure they were properly prepared to deal with the large volume of shoppers who frequent the Promenade during the Christmas season.

During the sale, the Boy Scouts sometimes brave sub-freezing temperatures to help the shoppers select a tree and load it onto a vehicle, but the event will pay off for the troop, Reichard said.

“I’ve done this before with a troop in Vestavia, and it was definitely always cold,” Reichard said. “But the event is really good for the troop, because they are all working together to raise money.”

The Christmas tree sale will bring a much higher rate of returns to benefit the troop than many other fundraisers, he said.

“This will be about a 50-50 fundraiser, so about 50 percent of everything we sell will come back to the troop,” Reichard said. “A lot of the things we do have about a 5- or 8-percent return, so this is a fantastic fundraiser.”

All money raised during the tree sale will be used to fund summer camps, activities and books and uniforms for members of the troop who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them.

“It’s total charity. Everything we get will help the Boy Scouts,” Reichard said. “It’ll fund summer camps, scouting trips, uniforms and books for scouts that are less fortunate, things like that.”

The tree sale will be open on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., and on Mondays-Thursdays from 3 p.m.-9 p.m. The sale will be closed on Sundays.