Crowds line up for Christmas trees in Honolulu - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Crowds line up for Christmas trees in Honolulu

Richard Tajiri Richard Tajiri
Patrick Roque Patrick Roque
Greg Thielen Greg Thielen
Jodie Hagerman Jodie Hagerman

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The final cleanup is over at Richard Tajiri's Christmas Tree business at Ala Moana Center. All the trees are gone and so is the crowd. But it was a maddening scene earlier. It all began early Thursday morning at Honolulu International Airport.

Tajiri flew in 700 trees hoping to satisfy demand. They were inspected for bugs and other critters not allowed in Hawaii. Then they were trucked to Tajiri's rented space where a large crowd had already gathered.

"I am surprised that this many people didn't have a tree. And I don't know how many more are out there. We're getting phone calls galore" said Tajiri.

The line began to form at six in the morning... nine hours before the trees were scheduled to go on sale.

"Tradition. My grandfather went buy for his kids. My mother and them went buy for us. Now I buy for my kids" said Patrick Roque of Waianae.

The line got so long that mall management asked Tajiri to start selling early. So, at 2:00 PM  he ushered people in.

You spent three hours in line just to get to the tree shopping point. Now the hard part. Finding a tree you like.

"Actually any tree I'm going to like. I'm just happy to be up here getting one" said Greg Thielen of Kailua.

Douglas firs, Nobles and Grands priced from 65 to 95 dollars.

"He's really doing a public service. He didn't have to. He already sold out of his. And I think he knew that there wasn't any trees and people wanted trees and he's not making a whole lot from this" said Jodie Hagerman of Hawaii Kai.

How about the pricing?

"I think it's fair. He air shipped them in" said Hagerman.

If you don't have a tree by now, unfortunately you are out of luck. Consider it a lesson learned. Get that tree early before they're all gone.

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