The effects of Hurricane Michael can still be felt here in Northwest Florida.
The Maphis Nursery and Tree Farm in Chipley is unrecognizable.
What used to be rows lined with Christmas trees, are now only sprinkled with them.
“Hurricane Michael basically when it came through, laid every Christmas tree down,” said owner Bill Maphis.
He said the storm toppled more than a thousand of his Christmas trees.
They replanted and staked most of them, but not all made it.
“About three hundred trees we put in a ditch and FEMA hauled off. You can figure an average of $7 a foot, on average 7-feet a tree. So you can imagine that’s a lot of money,” said Maphis.
His nursery sustained about $50,000 in damage between the trees and buildings.
However, he did not let that dampen his Christmas spirit or stop his business.
The farm is open, but pickings will be a little bit slimmer.
Maphis ordered trees from up North to make up for the loss.
“The choose and cut availability of trees in the field is going to be somewhat limited because we lost so many. We normally grow about 1,300 trees. We usually have about 800 a year ready,” he said.
Some people drove an hour and a half just to get a tree from Maphis when they heard about his damage.
“We just moved to the west end of Panama City Beach and we wanted to come out here where we knew some folks who were also affected. This is our first time back, but I think we’ll make it a yearly tradition,” said Alex Coleman.
Maphis said it could take the farm up to five years to fully recover, but for now he’s open for business.
He said the prices will stay the same, which is $7 per foot.
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