By Bob Schaper
OREGON (WREX) -- A holiday tradition draws to a close this year in Oregon. The Sinnissippi Forest Christmas Tree Farm will go out of business at the end of this season.
The news will likely come as a disappointment to the many families who've made Sinnissippi Forest a tradition for years. But Dave Stenger, who's managed the business since 1976, says the timing is right. He says changing times eventually doomed the business.
"Our sales went down for seven straight years, so the last few years haven't been profitable at all," he said.
The farm opened in 1948 by Gov. Frank Lowden, whose family still owns much of the property.
"Some people are disappointed," Stenger says. "Some people are surprised. Some people seen it coming."
Right now there are more than 55,000 trees on the 165-acre farm. During the good years Stenger says they'd sell close to 6,000 trees a season and employ 40 to 45 workers.
Marcia Heuer, who runs the Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce, thinks smaller tree farms will take up the slack.
"There are still people who want a destination," she said.
Stenger predicts his last year may be one of the best. "People are gonna want to come for one last time. Because we've got a lot of people who've been coming for 30 or 40 years," he said. "And from the emails we've been getting and some phone calls, they're gonna want to come out, and they're probably going to want to stay a while, cause it's the last year."
Stenger says he doesn't know what will happen to the farm after they close, which will be Dec. 23.
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