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    Albany pumpkin vendor encounters sharp sales downfall

    Few customers showed up at Ray’s Pumpkin Patch on Solano Avenue Tuesday, whose business is suffering a sharp decline. Photo by Linda (Linjun) Fan.

    You might have noticed that not as many pumpkins are smiling at porches in Albany right now, although the Halloween is only three days away. At least several hundred Albany families have cut back on buying pumpkins this year, in the gloom and uncertainty of economic recession.

    Ray Anderson, who runs Ray’s Pumpkins Patch on Solano Avenue, said his sales decreased by a third compared with last year.

    “It goes slower, “said Anderson. “People are watching their money.”

    He ordered less pumpkins this year, but is still having a hard time selling them. He counted his pumpkins this morning and found that he had 463 leftovers, many of which are bigger ones costing about 8 dollars each. Small pumpkins are more popular this year.

    Anderson has made a plan for the pumpkins in case he doesn’t sell them by Friday.

    “I will donate them to the elephants in the zoo,” he said. “Elephants love pumpkins. “

    Anderson didn’t donate to elephants in the past five years of running the business. He usually rents the vacant lot for three months and sells pumpkins and Christmas trees during holiday seasons. He won’t make much money out of the pumpkins sales this year, and he is cautious with Christmas trees sales.

    “I will cut back my order by a fourth. Trees are costly. You don’t want to have leftover trees, ” he said.

    Very few customers visited the patch Tuesday. But there have been boisterous times, Anderson said, when teachers took kids there to learn about pumpkins and families visited the lot at weekends. The kids had lots of fun carving pumpkins and playing on haystacks.

    “We still need to see happy faces, ” Anderson said.

    Click here to read another story on how the economic recession is affecting Albany local businesses.

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    The Solano Avenue Association will host a costume contest at Ray’s Pumpkin’s Patch to celebrate Halloween on Friday, Oct. 31st, 5 pm – 8 pm. Click here for more information.

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