Nursery management conference: “a decade in days”
According to a press release, more than 3,500 nursery industry professionals – including growers, retailers, suppliers, landscape professionals and others – participated in the Farwest Show 2021, which ran from 18 to August 20 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.
“People were happy that the Farwest Show had taken place, to have the opportunity to come together,” said show director Allan Niemi. “Our industry thrives when we can be face to face. We realize these are unique moments and we appreciate everyone who has supported The Farwest Show. “
Farwest had 49 new exhibitors this year. These included houseplant grower Cascade Tropicals (Snohomish, Washington), supplier of Soul of the Party plant suspensions (Tustin, Calif), durable goods supplier Farmers Defense (Watsonville, Calif), wholesaler Breeden Family Farm (Lebanon, Oregon) and durable goods. supplier Zaydoe Creative (Cannon Beach, Ore.), who showcased their new Gard-N-Hook utility tool at the show.
The tool can be used to easily hang or move nursery containers, making it ideal for nursery retailers to use and sell. Company owner Joe Acton has written numerous orders from across the country, from Northwest to New Jersey to Florida.
“I was skeptical that the show could do that for us, as it was the end of the season and our product was moving in the spring and summer,” he said. “But this was our first show, and I was amazed at what we sold to customers across the country. I’m hitting myself now, because I almost didn’t come here. It would have been a mistake.
Anna Busse, a trade show representative with wholesale plant grower Cascade Tropicals, found keen interest in her assortment of lush houseplants. “Considering all the context, we are satisfied with the participation rate. We weren’t sure people were coming, ”she said. “It was really busy for all Wednesday and Thursday.”
For Cascade, having a booth filled with lush green plants made all the difference. “People can see the plants in person,” said Busse. “[If they had] just saw them on our availability list, not sure if they would have been interested in them. Sometimes the plants on our website don’t look as good as they do in person.
Kaz Kosciolek and Ian Nabal, trade show representatives for farm clothing supplier Farmers Defense, said they had a lot of traffic at their booth during the three days. They sell hats, cuffs, masks and other protective gear for farmers and gardeners. “As a first-time exhibitor, we had a great experience,” said Kosciolek. “We were very satisfied with the participants, exhibitors and buyers. It was really great for connecting with the industry, both on the business and consumer side. I really think we got our value at the show.
Derry and Celia Breeden were first time exhibitors with Breeden Family Farms, a wholesale producer based in Lebanon, Oregon. They were not only new to Farwest, but to the nursery industry. “We had a wonderful time meeting people, getting to know people in the nursery industry and making connections,” said Derry. “We were able to place orders, build our contact list and make sales. “
Another first-time exhibitor who had a positive experience was Kevin Hsu, trade show representative with Soul of the Party, a supplier of macrame hangers.
“Everything went well, from the logistics to setting up the stand,” he said. “I can’t wait to come back next year…. We did better than expected. We were here at the right time, in the right place. It was so good to see people in person and to have this interaction again.
The show took place under unpredictable circumstances, with Oregon Governor Kate Brown implementing a statewide indoor mask warrant shortly before the rally began. “It presented a challenge,” said OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone. “The Oregon Department of Agriculture helped us obtain appropriate masks for the show, which we were able to distribute to any attendees or exhibitors who did not already have one. Thanks to their partnership and their help, we were able to put on a show in complete safety. “
The next edition of the Farwest Show will take place Wednesday August 24 through Friday August 26, 2022 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. “We can’t wait to be back next year,” said Ian Nabal of durable goods supplier Farmers Defense.