Flormart wants to be ‘bello’ again

Perhaps it was not such a good idea to cover the big, looming empty spaces with flowers  that looked more like funeral arrangements.

Trade shows face tough times to the point that organisers feel the need to share their views. Paolo Coin, CEO of PadovaFiere, writes an open letter to all of us to let us know that he basically didn’t like the last edition of Flormart.  And if the Italian ornamental horticulture and gardening sector could please stop the anti-Flormart campaign and instead reunite to rebuild a show which is bella (pretty) , generosa (generous) and properosa (prosperous), they would have his sincere thanks.

Since this year’s Flormart had to endure agonising losses in exhibitors (-2.3%) and visitors (-12.5%),  perhaps it was not such a good idea to cover the big, looming empty spaces (the size of a football pitch according to some dramatic Italians) with flowers  that looked more like funeral arrangements than cheerful bouquets.  They simply gave the wrong impression. As if the suffering patient had already  been pronounced dead.

Obvious event choice

But interestingly, despite the relative quiet of the show, those attendees who made the visit were just those the exhibitors wanted to talk to. And for exhibitors, the 2013 Flormart  continued to be the obvious event choice to help them win orders in a competitive market.

And let’s look at the positive side of the 2013 Flormart for a change: smaller and quieter is not always worse. As an exhibitor you couldn’t  get lost in the crowd, making leads easier to come by.

But truth be told, event organiser PadovaFiere could have made some quick improvements; why not fill the gaps by offering loyal exhibitors bigger and prominent spaces (for reduced fees), which in turn allows them to increase and enhance their displays. Larger and more elaborate plant exhibits would have been more appreciated than a desolate and deserted show floor.

Open letter

In a ‘post show’ open letter to its customers PadovaFiere’s managing director, Paolo Coin called for some critical, reflective thoughts. He pondered about Flormart giving it serious and methodical consideration. He said that Flormart carries the heavy burden of its former fame and glory. People tend to look back on the Grande Flormart with rose tinted glasses. But, according to Coin, there is this weird thing about the Flormart from the early 1990s as “it covered only an area of 13,000m2 in a small and outdated venue that had been built in the 1920s”.   Meanwhile, Coin said that Flormart partly failed to enthuse exhibitors and, even worse, its promotion campaign (no advertising in international trade press but a campaign on a local radio station from the Veneto region) and partnerships were sometimes misinterpreted. “For that, we take full responsibility. But here we come to another reality. Except from IPM Essen and a few exceptions to the rule, trade shows face tough times. Now, it is time to rebuild Flormart and we are lucky enough to have a strong base.”

Italy’s Grower of the Year

L-R: Gilberto Stanghini and Emilio Trabella.

Gilberto Stanghini, owner of Vivai Piante Stanghini Gilberto in Pistoia in the Italian province with the same name was chosen “Grower of the Year 2013″ by trade show organiser PadovaFiere and the top Italian trade magazines; Flortecnica, Clamer Informa, Acer, Greenline, Il Sole 24 ore, Garden&Grill and Linea Verde. Stanghini (pictured left), received the award at the reception during the 2013 Flormart trade show which was held from September 10 to 11 at the PadovaFiere convention centre in Padua, Northern Italy.

The Fabio Rizzi Award, in its 33rd year, recognises progressive growers nominated by their peers, who embrace technology and modern production practices, market innovatively, deliver strong customer service and demonstrate industry leadership.

Stanghini may not be the largest nursery stock grower in the Pistoia area, but he is determined to be one of the best when it comes to environmentally responsible and sustainable growing. The jury praised Stanghini’s state-of-the-art water recapture system that was revolutionary for the  industry. Also, Stanghini Nurseries have been running a programme of integrated pest management (IPM) and  received acclaim for their automatic fertilising system.

Emilio Trabella (pictured right) was presented with the Gardening Professional of the Year Award. The jury wanted to recognise the work of landscape architect Trabella in the planning and restoration of famous historic gardens, such as the FAI properties (Fondo Ambiente Italiano, usually referred to in English as the Italian National Trust), Villa Bozzolo and Villa del Balbaniello .

Trabella, chairman of Como’s vegetable and flower association, the Societá Ortofloricola Comense, since 1988, received his early education at Minoprio’s horticultural institute and is a member of the professional association for the Italian landscape industry, AIAPP (Associazione Italiana di Architettura del Paesaggio) and the International Federation of Landscape Architects, IFLA.

Oroflor winners

Coreopsis Highland.

A panel of Italian and international trade press judges announced the proud winners of the Oroflor Awards on the evening of Wednesday 11 September, 2013.

In the flowers and plants section Danziger’s Coreopsis Highland series, sold on the Italian market by Planta, won the first prize. Highland is a whole new series of compact Coreopsis available in a wide range of colours: Highland Blast, Highland Gold, Highland Honey and Highland Burgundy.

Voted Favourite New Product in the landscape section was Garbin’s compact TTZ excavator for landscape contractors.

In the technology section the Skumix system by Menno Chemie Vertrieb from Germany, represented in Italy by Florafit, took home the first prize. Skumix is a new state-of-the-art method to control the spread of greenhouse bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Florafit’s Helena Heiken was presented with the Oroflor Award for the Skumix system.

Skumix mixes water with air and Menno Florades (fungi, viruses, viroids and bacteria; MENNO Florades contains 90g/l 9%w/w benzoic acid) or Menno Ter Forte (bacteria, fungi, weed seeds and algae and moss) to produce a shaving cream-like foam, increasing contact time for removal of  stubborn deposits.

Skumix’ applications include benches, Danish trolleys, plug trays, pots, pallets, packing areas and greenhouse structures. Growers can opt for a Skumix Foamer in situ or a handheld unit with quick-connect hose for easy foaming.

Transparent price policy

Some critical changes need to be completed if PadovaFiere  is to achieve a successful trade show. A stricter and more transparent price policy need to be high on the agenda. It will have to compete more vigorously to maximise its share of visitors’ time therefore exhibitor marketing budgets.

Over the next two months, Coin and his team will go ahead with their plans to meet as many Flormart exhibitors, grower groups and trade associations as possible. He stressed that he and his team strive to provide the best service they can, and therefore ask for comments and suggestions and any other feedback Flormart- goers may have. Simply email parliamodiflormart@padovafiere.it   Coin promised that he will respond in due time.



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