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Highlights from Fresh Summit

PMA reports attendance records for its Orlando event.
 
by Cynthia L. McGowan

    The 2010 Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition in Orlando, Fla., drew a record number of attendees who networked, shared ideas and checked out product innovations, Produce Marketing Association (PMA) officials report.

     The show had a record 3,938 buyers and set an attendance record for an East Coast Fresh Summit with a total of 18,284 attendees from 58 countries. “We were gratified to have another record-breaking Fresh
Summit,” Julia Stewart, PMA’s public relations director, says.

     More important than the record numbers, though, was the value attendees received, Ms. Stewart reports. “All of the indications that we’ve gotten are that our attendees thought this was a great event on a number of levels, from the educational programming to the networking and, of course, to the sold-out expo,” she remarks.

floral highlights

     The expo floor had at least 70 floral-related companies showing buyers their newest products. Other floral highlights, Ms. Stewart shares, were:
  • The Floral Networking Reception. “We had great attendance there,” Ms. Stewart recalls. “There were about 175 people, including lots of buyers.”

  • The presentation of the Floral Marketer of the Year award to Bill Byland, business manager of Micky’s Minis Flora Express, who received a standing ovation from the large luncheon audience. “It was very clear from the audience’s response when [last year’s honoree] Harrison Higaki announced who had won that Bill Byland is very well thought of in the industry and very deserving of the award,” Ms. Stewart expresses.

  • Horticulture student visitors. Five students from the University of Florida’s Environmental Horticulture Program visited Fresh Summit to learn more about career opportunities in the floral industry. They received an orientation from PMA, were paired with mentors from the mass-market floral industry, toured the show floor and attended the Floral Networking Reception. “We heard great things from the students about what they learned about the floral industry as a career path,” Ms. Stewart says.

next year’s event

     Next year’s Fresh Summit will be Oct. 14-17, in Atlanta, Ga. Although planning is in the early stages, Ms. Stewart remarks, “We’re committed to making sure that our floral attendees have a fantastic experience, so we’ll be looking for the right mix of tours and educational programming and networking opportunities specifically designed to bring the floral community together.”

Stewart reminds that PMA is more than Fresh Summit. “With all our members, including our floral members, we’re working hard to provide them with value all year long,” she reports. Ms. Stewart cites PMA’s “Floral Holiday Market Watch” reports, sponsored by the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters, Asocolflores, as an example of the association’s year-round value to floral members. “That’s a unique resource—that information’s not available anywhere else.”

 

bill byland receives PMA honor

     Bill Byland, business manager of Micky’s Minis Flora Express, a division of N.G. Heimos Greenhouse, was named the 2010 Floral Marketer of the Year during the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition.
     The 2009 award winner, Harrison Higaki, president of Bay City Flower Co., Inc., of Half Moon Bay, Calif., presented the award to Mr. Byland, calling him a “tireless floral ambassador.”
    
“Our winner is recognized as ethical, practical,

creative and 100 percent customer oriented,” Mr. Higaki told attendees, who gave Mr. Byland a standing ovation. “His floral peers note his tireless support of the floral industry and his generosity of time in helping others grow their floral operations. They describe him as ‘hard working,’ ‘honest’ and ‘a consummate sales professional.’”
     Mr. Higaki also spoke of Mr. Byland’s commitment to innovative product and packaging, as demonstrated by Micky’s Minis’ 2008 PMA Impact Award for its “All Dressed Up” mini gift set.
     He also noted Mr. Byland’s devotion to industry volunteering, including his current service on PMA’s Membership Committee and Exhibition Advisory Committee as well as his past service on the PMA Retail Board of Directors and as chairman of the PMA Floral Council. He also is an editorial adviser to Super Floral Retailing.
     Mr. Byland says he felt honored to receive the award, especially because he was chosen by his industry peers. “That’s what makes it special,” he remarks.
     Past winners are “a who’s who of the supermarket floral industry,” he comments, “and to be included in this group of people is just awesome.”
     Micky’s Minis began 20 years ago as an idea to sell miniature plants, including blooming potted plants, cactus and succulent plants, herbs, bamboo, foliage and poinsettias, as novelty gift items. While national shipments began in 1990, the first several years were spent building a market for Micky’s Minis as a gift item. This was achieved primarily by attending up to 60 trade shows a year.
     “I think Bill has participated and exhibited in more trade shows than anyone I have ever known,” comments Marcy Britigan, president of MEI Specialty Refrigeration and Fixtures of LaGrange Park, Ill.,  and a past Floral Marketer of the Year honoree. “He’s ‘The King of Trade Shows’ and must have a secret source for comfortable shoes.”
     Ms. Britigan praised Mr. Byland for his devotion to the floral industry. “The qualities that make Bill an exceptional marketer are his passion for the industry, his product category and his customers,” she remarks. “He works tirelessly learning about, listening to, and contributing his time and energy toward the overall growth of the industry.”

 

Super Floral Retailing ••• Copyright 2010
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.