SAF 130th Annual Convention in Marco Island was a success.
I decided to attend this Floral event to feel the pulse of the industry from a more retail perspective. Based on what I saw and witnessed I would say there was much optimism to be found. I had not attended an SAF event for several years and I am happy to report that this was a grand convention.
“grand ” I don’t often use this word but since I had a grand time and learned few things, I think grand is appropriate. So what is it so special about it you might ask? Well first of all the best thing is Marco Island is a beautiful venue, and 93 new attendees were there in a gathering of 400.
Ya even there were the convention regulars that attend specific Floral industry events religiously and many new faces as well. I like the fact that this is still a grand event which made my Mothera to give me a special call who was attending on behalf of me. As her escort she wanted to be sure that I would be dressed appropriately for the various events. I have to admit that I have grown quite “Florida casual” over my many years living in the sunshine. However, since i was told that I clean up nicely, I was happy to dress up a bit.
basically This Floral event is about tradition and in fact the convention is a grand tradition itself after long period near about after 130 years. While the pomp and circumstance is not over the top, like a senior prom, it does hold an air of sophistication without feeling stuffy. No one can refuse of the fact that this event provides a wonderful opportunity to network and at the root of it that is why we gather in the first place. It was Clear that business was being conducted in the halls, on the beach, and anywhere else you happened to bump into a prospect. I really appreciate that fact that within few years the font size on the badges has grown as our eye sight has faded. It is awkward enough having to look at a young ladies cleavage to read her name much less having to reach for her nametag to read it.
The highlights for me were getting to hear Peter Moran’s industry predictions which can provide much fodder for online chattered and debate. Here are some highlights:
“In 2008 I predicted there would be upto 15 mega wholesalers in 2020 now (in 2014) but I think in 2020 it will be close to 10 players dominating large regional areas where there are centers of the U.S. population.”
The obvious take away for me was the fact that he changed from calling them “wholesalers” to “dominate players”. See you in six years.
I have attended some of the educational meetings and they were well attended and most important thing is that they were interesting. SAF’s Renato Sogueco who is their tech guy really knows his craft and provided some great feedback for those in his presentation. For many I imagine his talk was well worth the price of admission. Helping them who were lost in social media for them that are well on their way but need even more guidance as the game goes on changing.
SAF is big on awards and the main event and dinner is flush with Awards. While some might find these patronizing I do not. I believe that this is important to appreciate those who have done something special or have contribute to the industry as a whole. This Keeps us together as a big part of the floral industry vs. just a bunch of people trying to make a buck.
Here are the winners:
- Jacob McCall from the Elite Flower. Silvia Cup winner
- Ken Tagawa, named to Floriculture Hall of Fame
- David Armellini,receives Paul Ecke Js. Award
- Dr. John Dole, North Carolina State Professor Receives SAF Alex Laurie Award
- David Clark, Ph.D. University of Florida Professor Receives SAF Gold Medal Award
- Joyce Mason-Monheim Receives Tommy Bright Award for Achievement in Floral Presentation
Two Businesses and One Trade Association Mark 100 Years of Success:
- George Didden Greenhouses in Hatfield, Pa.
- C.J. Sanderson & Son Florist in Woodbury, N.J.
- Texas State Florists’ Association
- Sun Valley Floral wins Marketer of the year.
It was really a nice time and to see many friends that I have know over many years and I think that there is a good chance of me attending next year. Hope to see you there.
And of course we have pictures to prove it. Enjoy
William “Williee” Armellini