22 November 2018
MIAMI, USA: Close to 750 wholesale floral industry professionals, from around the world, came together for WF&FSA’s 2018 Floral Distribution Conference (October 18-20, 2018), including more than 100 exhibitors and 200 wholesalers.
The annual event of Wholesale Florists and Florist Supplier Association is the best show for wholesalers in the US and provides what wholesalers really need: a highly anticipated global panellist session, floral trends presentation and table top exhibits which all provided invaluable business opportunities for attendees.
WF&FSA’s leadership has managed to maintain this show from its heyday in Atlanta back in the late 1980’s and 1990’s and while it is smaller, it was still packed with wholesalers. With many competing interests and shows, the WF&FSA organisation has had to continue to renew itself to stay relevant and offer value to its membership.
The event has become more educational and the table top exhibits allowed vendors to display their offering in a simple standard booth size. The displays were highly impressive and made the best creative use of small spaces with plenty to see.
WF&FSA changed the rules this year regarding attendance which resulted in a smaller number of vendors but allowed for more room in the isles and gave vendors more elbow room as well. This year, non-exhibiting vendors could not walk the show which is clearly a direct result of some in the Miami importing community unhappy that non-member vendors/growers were allowed to walk the same event. A good change!
WF&FSA has elected Ben Powell, President of Mayesh Wholesale Florist as the new President and the organisation looks confident, under his leadership, to find its way in continuing to be a valued added organisation for its members.
WF&FSA has a long tradition of presenting awards and the longest of those is selecting the recipient of the Leland T. Kintzele Distinguished Service Award. This award was established to recognise and honor individuals who have made or continue to make substantial contributions in the floral industry and have shown distinguished service that exemplifies the integrity, fairness, perseverance and decisiveness of Leland T. Kintzele, president of WF&FSA from 1963 to 1965. This year, Peter Moran, former CEO of the Society of American Florists (SAF) was the winner.
An event highlight was the panel discussion titled ‘Trends in Global Floral Production’. The panel hosted by Jim Daly of Floralife, was made up of Joaquin de la Torre of BALLSB, Heidi Wernett of Kunming Heidi Horticulture, Steven van Schilfgaarde of Royal FloraHolland and Neil Hellings, managing director at Oserian Flowers, Kenya. The panel presented a lot of data and WF&FSA has agreed to publish that data on its website – a good example of a trade association bringing the world to its members.
Lesson from the conference were: the colour blue is more important than ever, China is the next frontier for floral pioneers eager for a challenge, Africa will not be a big threat in the US market, South America will need to monitor the distribution chain closely and the Dutch auctions are opening up their distribution chain in Europe via a program called Floriday.
Finally, exhibitors were pleased with the turnout and the overall event, including a great party. WF&FSA is financially healthy and looks strong for next year.