Where To Buy Live Christmas Trees Near Hickory

Daughters carrying freshly cut Christmas tree outdoors winter.

Christmas is coming soon, which means it’s time for you to find the perfect tree for you and your family. Many people simply put up the same fake tree, year after year.  After you’ve done this several times, it might get old. After all, you miss out on all the things that come with a real tree – the pine smell, a unique shape each year, and much more. If you and your family are considering choosing a real tree this holiday season, be sure to buy a tree from one of these local Christmas tree farms near Hickory.

Santa’s Forest Christmas Tree Farm

You and your family can make a day of it when you visit Santa’s Forest Christmas Tree Farm. At the farm, you can feed animals, taste authentic moonshine, take a ride on the 400-foot zip line, visit the antique equipment display, and more. Providing Cypress Christmas trees and handmade wreaths, Santa’s Forest is a great place to go to find all the holiday greenery you need. You’ll find the farm located at 4071 Herter Road, Lincolnton, NC 28092.

Helms Christmas Tree Farm

At Helms Christmas Tree Farm, you and your family can visit during the following hours:

  • Monday – Friday from 10:30 a.m. to dark
  • Saturday – Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to dark

The farm offers a wide array of tree options such as:

  • Carolina Saphire
  • White Pine
  • Leyland Cypress
  • Red Cedar
  • Colorado Blue Spruce
  • Fraser Fir

You’re certain to find the perfect tree for you – including other greenery options. Some of the greenery you can choose from include:

  • Wreaths
  • Garland
  • Kissing Balls
  • Window Sprays

You’ll find the Helms Christmas Tree Farm located at 6345 Christmas Tree Lane, Vale, NC 28168. Stop by and take a look today!

Learning More About Prospect Vision

At Prospect Vision, we work for car dealerships, offering the following:

  • Direct Mail Marketing
  • E-Mail Marketing
  • Digital Marketing
  • Much More!

We understand how important it is to drive traffic to your website. We also know that car shoppers receive information from a wide range of sources – mail, email, and more. That’s why marketing your company in a variety of ways is important. With Prospect Vision, we’re here to help by providing cost-effective ways for you to reach drivers in your area. We have hundreds are satisfied clients and we’re here to help you each step of the way. Stop by to speak to one of our friendly team members today. You will find us conveniently located at 920 Tate Blvd SE Suite 102, Hickory, NC 28602. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Direct Mail vs. Email: You Get What You Pay For


Direct mail vs. email? In a constantly evolving marketing environment, which one really delivers the best bang for your buck? On one hand, dealers tend to feel that “nobody reads mail… they just throw it in the trash.” On the other hand, dealers just can’t get past “how cheap email is… it’s practically free.”  The evidence suggests we need to reevaluate the way we use email. Rather than thinking of it as a cheap form of marketing, how we can utilize its strengths? If we continue to bombard customers, we may risk alienating them. Really, the questions you should be asking are, “How do my customers want to be contacted?” and “How often?”

  • Today, 70 percent of consumers reportedly feel like they receive too many emails.
  • The average lifespan of an email is now just 2 seconds and brand recall directly after seeing a digital ad is just 44 percent, compared to direct mail which has a brand recall of 75.

Credit: Pro Active Marketing

As the effectiveness of email marketing declines, the response to direct mail is on the rise, and printed media becomes a more trusted form of consumer communication.

Credit: Pro Active Marketing

You might be thinking that direct mail doesn’t work with millennials. The truth is, according to the United States Postal Service, 47 percent of millennials actually check their mailbox each day. Not only do young people read their direct mail offers, they actually respond well to direct mail offers. The Data and Marketing Association marks 18–21 years olds’ response rate as 12.4 percent.

Credit: Pro Active Marketing

How often should I mail? It depends.

In all other forms of advertising – newspaper, magazine, television, radio and online – there isn’t a second thought given to spending thousands and even millions of dollars marketing to the same subscribers, viewers, and listeners day after day, and even year after year. Yet, dealers question sending a direct mail campaign twice to the same list. Advertising is primarily about repetition, and direct mail is no exception.

We’re not saying to quit email and put all of your money into mail, but since you’re selling the second biggest ticket item most people will ever purchase, take the time to send a letter, postcard, or custom-printed piece to ask for their business. It just means more.

It’s Not a New OR Used Vehicle, It’s a Vehicle!

Woman selling new and used cars

Thanks to the internet, vehicle quality, off-lease vehicles, ride sharing and more, the used car “selling” process has been turned on its head. People used to have the mindset that used vehicles were a cheap alternative to new vehicles. “I want a new vehicle but I can’t afford one” or “I’ll just get a cheap car to get back and forth to work” used to be the mantras. Now, U.S. motorists are holding onto their cars for longer than ever. According to IHS Automotive, the average new-car ownership period stands at 6.5 years, which is up from 4.3 years in 2006. Likewise, used-vehicle owners are keeping their rides for an average of 5.3 years, which is around two years longer than in 2016, pushing up the trade-in value.

Because of this, people are reconsidering buying a new car when they can trade for a less expensive used car with great reliability. Recent research from IHS indicates that only 1 in 3 car buyers know the exact vehicle they want to purchase when they start shopping. Now, many buyers are open to both new and used vehicles.

  • 40% of new car buyers considered used and new
  • 55% of used car buyers considered used and new
  • 92% of people that bought a vehicle consider buying again
  • 70% of people that leased a vehicle considered leasing again

You need to approach the customer as a “sale.” Not a new or used vehicle, but any vehicle. Vehicle owners have drifted from “I want a new vehicle” to “I need a new vehicle.” Two in three state they need, rather than want, a different vehicle. This is a reflection of the older used car market with buyers holding onto their cars longer.

Because of the length of time in the market, don’t think of it as a one-and-done marketing proposition, but rather an ongoing, sustained communication. People still spend 108 days (3.5 months) in the market prior to the purchase of a new or used vehicle. Even though shoppers are spending a total of four fewer days in the market for a car than last year, this is still a long time. Customers in equity positions need constant contact. Half of all car buyers do not contact the dealership prior to their first visit. Dealers need to direct market toward customers who provide the highest chance for hand-raising.

Fifty-three percent of car buyers look for monthly payment information while researching a vehicle, and 47 percent of buyers said that the total price of the vehicle is more important than the monthly payment. That said, more than one-third of buyers feel the total and monthly price are equally important, highlighting the need for dealers to provide both options in their merchandising.

Prospect Vision recommends equity marketing with a “go shopping price (GSP).” The GSP allows customers to buy new or used vehicles on their terms, increasing the chance of a sale. Don’t assume that equity customers are excited to jump into another new vehicle. They may want to upgrade to a larger used SUV or pick-up for at or near the same price or payment.

It’s hard enough selling a vehicle of any kind in today’s competitive environment. Take the path of least resistance, create a happy customer and improve your gross along the way by giving the customer a choice of a new or used vehicle.

Fall in Love with a North Carolina Pumpkin Patch

Family in pumpkin patch

October is here, and that doesn’t just mean Halloween is on the way, it means it’s fall and time to pay a visit to the local pumpkin patches. Not only are you going to find gorgeous fields of giant pumpkins at these local farms around North Carolina, but you’re bound to have loads of family fun along the way. With many offering a range of activities from corn mazes to bounce houses, you’re sure to create family memories that will last a lifetime.

Take a look at these three great pumpkin patches in the North Carolina area:

Johnny Wilson Farm

With 78 acres, this family-owned farm has a pumpkin patch you can visit from September 29 until November 3 to pick out the pumpkin that’s perfect for you. But there’s so much more than pumpkins at this pumpkin patch – there are countless activities for the whole family. From petting calves, pigs, goats, and donkeys to exploring the 3-acre corn maze and participating in a plastic duck race, this place is guaranteed fun and entertainment for hours.

Location: 5163 Precious Memories Lane, Granite Falls, NC


Red Wolf Farm

This farm in Maiden, NC spreads 123-acres, which include beautiful hills, a forest, and even a large pond. While you can browse through their large field of pumpkins, you and the family also have the opportunity to go on a mile-long hayride, find your way through a professionally-designed corn maze, test your skills on an obstacle course, or visit the animals on the farm. With so much to do at Red Wolf Farm, this place should definitely earn a spot on your must-see list this October.

Location: 1900 HW Farm Road, Maiden, NC


Shelby Corn Maze

Pick your favorite pumpkin, get lost in a corn maze, take a hayride, or play some old-fashioned checkers. Your options for some kid-friendly fun are just about endless when you visit the Shelby Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch. Opening September 22 for the fall season, you’ll find loads of family entertainment and outdoor fun. Plus, this year they even have a giant “jumping pillow” where you can kick off your shoes and have a blast jumping around. But before you go, you should know that every Friday and Saturday in October, spooky things begin to happen in the corn maze after dark, but if you think you can handle it, we can assure you, it’s going to be a night of fun!

Location: 120 Broadway Dr, Shelby, NC


Don’t let the season pass you by without venturing out to these great pumpkin patches around North Carolina! One visit, and we know this will immediately become your new favorite family tradition.

Equity Mine Older Vehicles in Your Service Lane

older cars

Americans Are Keeping Their Cars Longer and Longer

Americans’ concern about the state of the U.S. economy is at its lowest level on record, according to a new survey that’s been tracking the issue for decades. Gallup research this month found just 12 percent of Americans said an issue related to the economy is the most important problem facing the country. In August, the figure was 17 percent.

Despite a robust economy, increased consumer spending, and three consecutive years in which annual auto sales topped 17 million, Americans are continuing to keep decade-old vehicles running–and they’re only getting older.

What does this mean at your dealership?

Equity Mine Older Service Lane Vehicles

The age of light-duty vehicles in the United States rose 13 percent to an average of 10.5 years, according to a 2017 survey by the U.S. Department of Transportation. While this number is off the average of 11.6 years cited by research firm IHS in 2016, all signs point to America’s fleet – and its population of more than 223 million licensed drivers – growing older.

Pickup trucks, in particular, are staying on for longer. The average pickup was 13.6 years old in 2017 as compared to 11.2 in 2009. Vans jumped to 10.9 years (up 24 percent), SUVs rose to 8.5 years (up 20 percent), and cars’ average age increased to 10.3 years (up 8 percent).

Overall, the aging of the vehicle fleet suggests many households have delayed purchasing a new vehicle or have instead purchased a used vehicle. Lower-income households were most likely to hold on to older cars. On average, those reporting annual incomes of less than $25,000 drove 13-year-old cars, while those with incomes above $100,000 had nine-year-old cars.

Older vehicles, especially those bought new and driven by the Baby Boomer generation, are usually better-taken care of, have fewer miles and are more prone to visit your service department over local repair shops.

The great thing about older vehicles as equity targets is that the owner knows it’s not going to run forever. Plus, with the massive industry shift to SUV’s, you now have an opportunity to offer customers a real change from their current vehicle.

If a customer has chosen to hang on to their current vehicle, then they probably do it for cost saving, or they really like the vehicle.  Either way, getting them physically into a new vehicle with all its features and benefits is the first step to a sale.

Leasing may be an option for these customers. Leasing avoids the sticker shock, and the vehicle trade-in could cover all of the upfront transactional costs.

How PV Mines Older Vehicles

Prospect Vision has the capability to search back 15 years.  This can help the dealer source pre-owned vehicles. Plus, even if the person owned the car for 10 years, we can still show the old loan payment. This historical data can be used to show estimate trade and estimate terms for a newer vehicle based on the previous payment range. Most people are comfortable in a certain payment range.

So, there you go. Yes, customers are keeping their cars longer, but the good news is that they’re keeping the cars they bought from you longer. Sooner than later, they are going to need a new vehicle, and by maintaining diligence in the service lane you’ll be there when they do.

Celebrate National Day of Play with this Kiwanis Park Event

Park day

Now that school is back in session, more than ever, you know the kids are ready for an entire day of play! That’s why it’s essential that you don’t miss out on the National Day of Play at Kiwanis Park on Saturday, September 15 from 11 am to 2 pm. Presented by the Hickory Parks and Recreation Department, this is one event that is sure to be an absolute blast for the entire family. On this National Day of Play, the kiddos will be able to do just that – play! But that’s not all, along with exciting games and activities, there will be a touch-a-truck, trackless train, arts and crafts, and, of course, food for every appetite.

Get Ready for Endless Family Fun at the Kiwanis Park in Hickory, NC

While National Day of Play is scheduled to go from 11 am until 2 pm, you and the family can stick around afterward for even more playtime at Kiwanis Park. Now including the Zahra Baker All Children’s Playground and a splash pad, you can let the children get wet and wild while cooling off. This splash pad first opened in July of 2016 thanks to the City of Hickory, the Hickory Kiwanis Club, and the Western Catawba County Kiwanis Club, and ever since, it has been a huge hit with the entire community. With a non-slip surface, your kids can play around, get sprayed, dive under streams of water, run through the mist, and simply have a great time splashing around in the water.

Along with a splash pad for everlasting fun, there are also countless other activities with amenities like a tennis court, basketball court, baseball fields, horseshoe pits, and even a walking trail. Parents, of course, appreciate the onsite picnic tables and convenient bathrooms. Plus, you’ll be glad to know that the park is tailored to children with special needs.

Don’t Miss the National Day of Play at Kiwanis Park

While being held at the Kiwanis Park Zahra Baker All Children’s Playground located at 805 6th Street SE, Hickory, NC, it’s perfectly convenient for families all around the Hickory area.  This family-friendly event will take place rain or shine, so be sure to get to the National Day of Play no matter what the weather holds. You can be sure this will be an event your family will be talking about for days to come.

Keeping Millennial Customers Coming Back

Millennial customers

Attracting millennial customers to your dealership is critical to your continued business success. The increasing purchasing power of this generation, plus their life stage as young adults and young parents, will make them just as valuable a demographic as Baby Boomers have already been to your business. But once you’ve got those millennial shoppers in the door, how can you keep them coming back?

Be consistent

Millennials are expecting a seamless transition. They switch from looking at your website on a smartphone or tablet to looking at it on a desktop to eventually walking into your dealership. If your store is having an Independence Day sale, you better make sure that message is conveyed on your website. And it goes both ways: If your website says you have a particular vehicle, you better make sure that vehicle is shown prominently when they show up at your store. Disappointing or frustrating millennial customers is the surest way to lose their business. Plus, millennials aren’t going to be as forgiving if it’s not an easy transition from digital to in-person. With the power and savviness they possess with social media, you can bet they’ll be telling their friends and the rest of the world.

Offer expertise

How many times has a customer walked into your store and you quickly ascertained they know more about the vehicle than your salespeople? You can count on millennial shoppers showing up with a world of information at their fingertips. When they visit your store, they expect your sales team to be just as knowledgeable. Here’s a sobering number: 40 percent of millennials say that “deep product knowledge” is important to them when visiting a store, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers reports. That means you and your staff need to be ready for them. Your employees should be able to answer in-depth questions about products, provide recommendations and suggest complementary upgrades.

Reward followers

Millennials won’t follow your store on social media just because they think you’re cool. Just like you when you go shopping, they expect to get something out of the relationship. Exclusive access to deals, discounts or information are key reasons millennials follow dealers on social media. When millennial shoppers manage to find their way to your dealership, that’s when you can tell them by word of mouth or signage to follow you on social media by explaining the rewards they’ll get. Millennials may be different from past generations when it comes to shopping habits, but one thing still holds true no matter the shopper. We all want to feel wanted and rewarded for our loyalty!

Related reading: Higher Customer Retention Means Higher Profits!

Use mail

If you want millennials to become loyal retail customers, you’ve got to offer those personalized, targeted promotions and discounts. That means offers sent by email or mailed to their homes can often be the most effective promotional tool for this age group. In this age of fast-is-better technology, sometimes the best way to grab the attention of millennials is to drop an offer in the mail.

Text them

Why should a dealership’s service advisor, salesperson or your BDC text? A dealership must put themselves in their client’s shoes. A doctor can text between patients, a plumber can text while on a job, and a lawyer can text while in a meeting. The data supports this as texts are replied to, on average, within 4 minutes. The expectation for a return call to a voicemail is the same day and the expectation for an email is 24 hours. Millennials don’t talk … they text!


Adjusting your customer retention methods to focus on millennials is smart. Not only is this generation growing in influence, they’re influencing how their parents shop as well.

Free Telescope Night at the Lucile Miller Observatory

Telescope night

Come out to the Lucile Miller Observatory on Friday, August 17 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. for a beautiful night of stargazing. Though donations are appreciated, this is even free and open to the public, meaning you don’t need any reservations – all you have to do is show up to enjoy this free-of-charge event. If it rains, no worries! There are lots of indoor activities the whole family can enjoy, along with informal indoor presentations during every observatory event. Located at 515 North C Avenue in Maiden, NC, the Lucile Miller Observatory is conveniently situated for residents all around Hickory, NC.

About the Lucile Miller Observatory

This local astronomical observatory is located inside Maiden High School and is owned and operated by the Catawba Valley Astronomy Club. This observatory consists of a wheelchair-accessible classroom and observing pad that can hold up to 40 people. Of course, there are some large scopes at this observatory you can use, though you can also bring your own telescope, and the staff here will help you learn how to use it. That way, you can stargaze by yourself at home when the observatory isn’t open to the public. These guys can teach you all about stargazing and give you tips to truly take your hobby to the next level.

Find the Perfect Night to Stargaze in Maiden, NC

Some nights are going to be better to stargaze then others due to weather conditions, so it might be helpful to take a look at the Lucile Miller Observatory Clear Sky Chart to find the perfect night to enjoy the sky. This chart is basically an astronomer’s forecast that tells you when the sky is going to be cloudy and when it’s going to clear up to be just right for using your telescope. Just look at the chart, pay attention to the row labeled “sky conditions,” and the columns of blue blocks are going to tell you whether you should get out your scope or wait another night.

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Don’t Miss This Free Night of Stargazing

As we mentioned, this is a free event. However, the Lucile Miller Observatory doesn’t receive funding from the school system, so we do encourage you to make a donation you feel comfortable with, if possible. This is a great opportunity for the whole family to spend quality time together while learning more about our magnificent planet and experiencing all its beauty.

Higher Customer Retention Means Higher Profits!

Customer retention diagram

We’ve all heard it a hundred times: “Acquiring a new customer can cost 6 to 7 times more than retaining an existing customer.” And yet, we still can’t seem to find a few dollars each month to spend on customer relationship marketing.

Customer Retention Figures

Let’s set the stage for the cost of customer acquisition versus customer retention.

  • The cost of customer acquisition versus customer retention could reach as high as 700 percent*
  • Over a 5-year period, customer natural attrition rates could reach as high as 50 percent
  • Businesses which boosted customer retention rates by as little as 5 percent saw increases in their profits ranging from 5 percent to a whopping 95 percent

Benefits of Marketing to Current Customers

Now I think we can all agree there’s some opportunity here to refocus more on our existing customers, rather than chasing down new ones. By simply automating the process of service lane marketing, content marketing, email marketing and social media marketing, you’ll have huge success:

  • Staying in touch with your current customer base
  • Reminding your customers of upcoming events and seasonal tips
  • Maintaining a professional appearance all the way to the inbox
  • Taking advantage of opportunities to reach out to clients you have not talked to in years; you have new makes and new models to offer them
  • Get a few more referrals sent your way

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Making Equity Mining Seamless

This is why service lane marketing is vital. Think about your regular service customers. They are more profitable, more loyal and of greater lifetime value to the dealership. Service lane marketing attracts the richest mix of loyal customers. Many dealers are wasting marketing dollars on disloyal customers who will never stick around long enough to pay back their acquisition investment.

Many dealers have been turned off to equity mining because they may have had inadequate training, didn’t use it or had improper processes in place at the dealership. Others have invested in poor software where the numbers didn’t add up and lost confidence with their staff. Either way, having an easy-to-use software solution installed is essential. Partner up with a vendor that is committed to your success. Being able to serve up customer information that is accessible at a moment’s notice is crucial. Your staff needs to have a seamless process that encourages them to use the software. Once they have bought in, it becomes part of their daily routine.


*Source: Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company.

Meet Prospect Vision’s New Digital Press: The Xerox® Versant® 3100 Press

Prospect Vision is proud to announce the newest addition to the office – The Xerox® Versant® 3100 Press. Equipped with groundbreaking technology, this state-of-the-art printing press allows for maximum efficiency while delivering unmatched quality. As one of the most powerful, advanced, and innovative presses on the market today, the possibilities are endless when it comes to providing our customers with the high-quality materials they desire.

What Does This Mean for Our Customers?

With the new Xerox® Versant® 3100 Press, our customers can now expect even higher efficiency when working with Prospect Vision. With the ability to print from such a powerful production press, we’re now able to do even more in less time. Ultimately, this means we can provide you with even quicker turnaround times, getting you the materials you need as soon as you need them. This doesn’t mean we’re sacrificing quality, though. Far from it. With technology like the exclusive Xerox® Ultra HD Resolution and Production Accurate Registration, we guarantee you’ll be stunned by the quality of your materials with each delivering jaw-dropping detail. From banners to envelopes, we can handle any job you need with a minimal turnaround time.

Details on the Xerox® Versant® 3100 Press

For those who are curious to learn exactly how efficient this press is, take a look at some of the impressive stats below.

  • Prints at 100 ppm on stocks, specialty media from 52-350 gsm, and auto-duplex up to 350 gms
  • Exclusive Xerox® Ultra HD 10 bit Resolution with four times more pixels than other presses
  • Average Monthly Printing Volume of up to 250,000 and maximum monthly duty cycle of 1.2 million
  • Fully automated color and production print optimization via Full-Width Array
  • Automated Color Calibration and Production Accurate Registration with tolerances to within a half millimeter
  • EA Toner, 2400 x 2400 dip with 10-bit RIP and an advance Compact Belt Fuser

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Contact Prospect Vision Today

If you’re looking for a partner in printing, we are now, more than ever, your go-to source. From booklets, brochures, and catalogs, to reports and newsletters, and even wire-bound products, we can do it all. Get the materials you need with one of the shortest turnaround times in the industry, and ramp up your marketing today. Teaming up with Prospect Vision may just be the best business decision you’ve ever made. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.