Family Owned Christmas Tree Business Tells Their Story

Tiani Jadulang

No matter when you choose to get into the Christmas spirit, whether that’s before or after Thanksgiving… It’s safe to say now, is the time to start pulling out those Christmas decorations.

If you still need a tree, look no further than one local family who has been providing the valley with Christmas trees for decades.

The Aerni family come down to the Coachella Valley from Oregon a week before Thanksgiving in preparation for their selling season. 

I spoke with Rosa Aernie and her son Verlyn Aerni on how their business got started.

“It’s in my blood. My husband does a really good job on our farm at home… and we can see them grow from tiny things to large.” says Rosa Aernie about their farm back home.

Rosa Aernie says the business started with her father, she was three years old when her parents and other siblings would head to Pomona to sell their Christmas trees. They eventually migrated to the Coachella Valley.

“We are from Oregon, and it was always cold there and there’s not a lot of work… and so he cut down some of our little trees that we had and he brought them down and took us out of school which we loved.” she states.

Rosa and her husband Butch Aerni, continued her father’s legacy of growing and selling Christmas trees… under a new name, Aerni trees.

“We broke off and we came here to Cathedral City with my little kids.”

Butch and Rosa started their business over off of Highway 111 in Cathedral City, but have sold at their most recent lot off of Ramon Road for the last 35 years.

Their son, Verlyn, has also taken part in the business, selling trees alongside his wife in La Quinta for the past 15 years. 

“We grow ourselves and they take approximately 10 years to grow and it’s kinda what we’ve done my whole life.”

For the Aerni’s, selling their trees is a family event. Even the Aerni sisters take the holiday season off, make the trip down to California and, trim trees or create wreaths. 

“I love interacting with people and I feel like it just you see a lot of happiness when they’re getting their tree and they’re appreciative of a small business. still trying to make it you know, so we’re very thankful for our loyal customers.” Verlyn says about coming down for the holiday season and selling their trees to locals.

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