Not just a purchase, an experience

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 1, 2013

Keith Dickess, owner of the Dickess Tree Farm, shakes a tree Saturday at his business in Andis.

Keith Dickess, owner of the Dickess Tree Farm, shakes a tree Saturday at his business in Andis.

ANDIS — One can buy a Christmas tree anywhere, but doing so at K. Dickess Christmas Tree Farm encompasses more than just purchasing a fir or spruce.

Keith Dickess took over the day-to-day operation of the tree farm from his father in 2000 and has persevered through hard work, providing a quality product and, he admits, a little bit of luck.

“Four Christmas tree lots have gone out of business in the Tri-State,” he said. “Real trees bought from wholesalers have been cut a long time ago and are already dried out.”

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The 140-acre farm is half covered in trees, Dickess said, accounting for 20,000 live trees with plans to plant 4,000 more next year. He recalled a time in the 1970s when there were 60,000 trees on the farm.

“We have experienced a sales growth each year for the past four years,” he said. “We are looking for a jump this year, too. We sold almost 800 trees last year and we are on a good pace to sell more than that this year.”

To people like Diane and Bill Archer, of Huntington, W.Va., getting a high-quality tree is just a bonus to shopping at Dickess.

“We have been coming here more than 30 years,” Diane said. “They are really nice people and offer the best service anywhere. The trees are incredible, also. I have a big living room and I always want a big tree.”

Diane selected her tree in early November and was scheduled to pick it up on Saturday, which is one testament to Dickess’ high level of customer service.

“Lots of places cut their trees a month ago and now they’re dried out,” she said. “My tree I got here is as fresh as it can get. All these people couldn’t be nicer. We will keep coming here forever.”

Dickess has six employees who help cut, shake out and load the trees for customers.

“Nicer weather has made business pick up a bit,” Dickess said. “We are busiest during this time of year.”

Although many customers at the farm have been coming there for decades and some families have bought trees there for generations, the farm is also attractive to first-time buyers of real Christmas trees.

“This is my first year buying a real tree,” D.J. Friend, of Pedro, said. “I just searched for real Christmas trees on Google and this was the first place that popped up.”

Contact information and driving directions are available on the K. Dickess Christmas Tree Farm Facebook page.