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Friends help ease holiday stress by ‘branching out’

 

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Dave Baughman, left, helps Bob Hill, co-owner of B&D Holiday Center, wrap a Christmas tree for a customer.


With Christmas approaching, annual holiday headaches emerge. But thanks to a pair of local friends, finding the perfect tree is painless.


“We used to be volunteer firefighters and kind of got to know each other,” David Etheridge, co-owner of B&D Holiday Center in the Ranchos, said. “I used to run that big First and Nees lot years ago and he had his on Blackstone, so we kind of decided to try something out here. That’s kind of how it became.”


Bob Hill, 50, began his Christmas tree lot about 15 years ago in Fresno and moved his operation to the Madera Ranchos seven years ago. That’s when Etheridge, 62, entered the picture, and the collaboration has been a success ever since.


Their lot is located next to Dollar General on Avenue 12 in the Madera Ranchos.


“Most of our customers are repeat customers or referrals,” Etheridge said. “That’s a good sign that you’re doing things right. Everybody enjoys coming in and seeing us year after year, so I think everybody is pretty happy.”


Although the population is smaller than Fresno, meaning less revenue, giving back to the community is the most important thing.


“Right here in Madera Ranchos. We don’t sell a whole lot of trees like I would in Fresno or like I used to do in Fresno,” Bob Hill said. “It’s more for the community.”


The holiday center offers two types of Christmas trees; the noble and nordmann. The noble is described as “the Cadillac” of trees. A hearty tree with stiffer branches, while the nordmann is considered to be a better version of the noble, thicker branched, and they lose very few needles.
The trees are grown in the Pacific Northwest and are brought to the Central Valley on order.


The prices vary from $39 to around $300, depending on height and tree condition. For customers living outside of the Ranchos, don’t fret, delivery is an option.


“We drive to anyone that needs it,” Etheridge said. “We go into Madera, sometimes Fresno and even Clovis if we have to. Anywhere anyone needs it.”


With Christmas fast approaching, the lot is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day until Christmas.