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A Fresh Summit record

19,000 attend PMA’s big event; check out the floral highlights.
by Cynthia L. McGowan

A record-breaking 19,000 attendees networked, shared information and discovered new products at October’s Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition in Anaheim, Calif., Produce Marketing Association (PMA) officials report.

    Terry Humfeld, PMA vice president of volunteer leadership relations, says the recession helped drive show attendance. “In difficult times, conventions and trade shows become that much more important a business marketing tool, and Fresh Summit is the premier produce and floral trade show in the U.S.,” he remarks. “It is also an opportunity to build the community and professional development on important topics that help in tough times.”

    Of the 800 exhibitors, 83 provide products and services to the floral industry, Mr. Humfeld shares, and about half of those are floral-only companies. And while PMA didn’t have data on the number of floral registrants, “I can say that there was a very large and enthusiastic group of people who attended the floral reception,” he recalls.

    The floral highlights included:

• The presentation of the Floral Marketer of the Year award to Harrison Higaki, president of Bay City Flower Co., Inc. “Harrison is one of the truly great leaders in the industry,” Mr. Humfeld says. “He was so humble in his acceptance remarks, and the fact that his father, Harry, had also received this coveted award in 1994 made it all the more special.”

• The well-attended workshops. The first floral-specific workshop was an interactive session that explored ways to make the most of retailer-vendor partnerships. The second discussed how retailers and suppliers can use PMA’s Holiday Floral Market Watch Reports to create strategies  for maximizing sales all year long.

    Next year’s Fresh Summit will be Oct. 15-18 in Orlando, Fla. “We do expect strong floral attendance given the Orlando location,” Mr. Humfeld says.

    In the meantime, PMA officials are gratified by the response to this year’s show. “We’re humbled by the extraordinary turnout,” Mr. Humfeld remarks, “and we give all the credit to our exhibitors; our volunteer leaders; and our educational agenda, including the floral workshops and reception.”

  floral council discontinues  
      The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has decided to discontinue its Floral Council as it seeks new ways for members to get involved in the association, PMA officials report.

     The Floral Council, which included representatives from all segments of the floral supply chain, was responsible for working with PMA staff to create programs and services for floral members. “PMA is changing our governance structure over the next year to allow for new and different opportunities for members to get more involved in their association,” Terry Humfeld, PMA vice president of volunteer leadership relations, explains. “Our current constituency-based division boards and council leadership structure (including the Floral Council) will transition to a number of content-based committees.”

     Mr. Humfeld says the change is in the best interest of PMA’s floral members because “it creates more opportunities for all members to get involved on the topics that matter most to them. We invite all our members to consider getting more involved in their association. Meanwhile, the association’s service to our floral members will not change.”

pma honors harrison higaki

     Harrison Higaki, president of Bay City Flower Co., Inc., of Half Moon Bay, Calif., was named the 2009 Floral Marketer of the Year during the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition.

     Danny Temkin, founder and president of Temkin International, Inc. of Payson, Utah, and the 2008 recipient, presented the honor to Mr. Higaki, remarking on his “integrity, passion and vision for his company, PMA and the entire floral industry.”

     “His floral peers note his patience and generosity and his persistent quest for perfection. They describe him as ‘a thinker,’ ‘a true Renaissance man’ and ‘a consummate gentleman’,” Mr. Temkin said at the award presentation.

     Mr. Higaki’s company, founded by his grandfather in 1910, is known for its innovative product introductions and improvements in post-harvest plant longevity. Bay City introductions, including ‘Shooting Star’ Hydrangeas, ‘Vintage Harvest’ Hydrangeas, potted Freesias, ‘Sunrise’ cacti and potted ‘Star of Bethlehem’ Ornithogalums, have become staples in many floral programs throughout the country.

     Mr. Higaki, who called the award a deep honor because the recipient is chosen by peers, credits Bay City’s associates for his and the company’s success. “Others include my wife, who supports me; my father, who mentored me; my daughters, who make me laugh; my mother, who believes in me; PMA, who first gave us a national presence; our loyal customers, who daily place their trust in us; and most of all, a God who intimately loves us.”

     He also says passion, love and joy fuel his drive for industry innovation and quality. “I love plants and flowers and the people with whom I am blessed to work. While being in business definitely has its ups and downs, at the heart is joy,” Mr. Higaki shares.

            Says Sandee Loeffler-Sidun, Bay City’s director of marketing, “After 23 years of working with Harrison and Bay City Flower Company, I can say that it is Harrison’s leadership that maintains a culture of respect, teamwork, honesty, creativity, trust, compassion and joy. Every department, from maintenance to sales, understands its contribution to our mission of maintaining focus on our consumers by exceeding their expectations versus merely ‘satisfying’ them. And did I mention joy? If you’ve never heard Harrison’s laugh, it is frequent and easily heard for acres.”

Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2009
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.