Fresh, fun and definitely NOT your grandma’s flower show, IFE 2017 is the buyers’ mecca of visual merchandising, innovative products and powerful commerce! The 2017 International Floriculture Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago wrapped with record-breaking attendance for education sessions, the implementation of successful new networking events and a busy tradeshow floor.
IFE’s Education Day delivered a meaningful conference program that drew more than 350 participants tuning in to hear 20+ speakers discussing everything from sourcing and labor to 3D virtual reality bouquets and plan-o-grams.
Tuesday kicked-off with Floral Flash Networking, a “speed-networking” event that paired qualified suppliers and high-volume buyers together resulting in 168 business meetings in just one hour.
There were 225 exhibitors on the show floor including 30 new companies. More than 750 floral attendees and key buyers walked the show floor and there was a combined attendance of 7500+ including IFE’s show partners, United FreshTEC, United FreshMKT and Global Cold Chain Expo.
“We re-signed 83% of the exhibit floor onsite at the show itself, which is 60 more booths than last year. This upward trend is a direct result of the excellent quality of attendance from high-volume buyers at this year’s event,” said Christine Salmon, Event Director at IFE.
“This year in particular was fantastic as we were able to connect with a variety of current, past and new customers. We look forward to exhibiting next year and seeing our industry innovate and move forward with the latest trends and products!” said Jacob McCall AIFD AAF FSMD CFD, Director of Design, The Elite Flower.
“Once again, the IFE show proves to be the best value for reaching new grocery and retail distribution customers as well as connecting with current customers,” said Scott Fulton, General Manager of Botany Lane Greenhouse.
HONORS AND AWARDS: Flower Naming Ceremony Honors John Simko, “Sunshine”
Kevin Barry of Big Y Foods presented the honor to John Simko, President and CEO of Sunshine Bouquet Company and 40 year industry veteran. The flower, bred by Ball and Miyoshi, was a stunning dark blue delphinium appropriately named “Sunshine.”
Merchandising Award of Excellence goes to Hy-Vee
Cheryl Overland and her team from Hy-Vee Floral 1019 in Albert Lea, Minnesota took home the prize for their theme “Stop Texting, and Have a Conversation” presented by Super Floral and Syndicate Sales at the Toast to the Industry Reception.
Corey Rader Wins Iron Designer
Corey Rader of FreshBlooms and DVFlora, took home the trophy for Iron Designer after blood, sweat, and even some stitches – what a true champion! He was chosen by the judges out of 10 competitors from around the country tasked with creating a masterpiece in just 20 minutes using floral foam tiles from Oasis. Jason Parent MMFD also received a Crowd Choice Award.
Syndicate Sales Wins Innovation Battlefield
World Class Flowers, A-ROO Company, flAVATAR, Floralife, Betallic LLC and Syndicate Sales, Inc. battled it out at the second-annual Innovation Battlefield given just two minutes to discuss their innovative new products, which included glow-in-the-dark flowers, mailbox balloons, post-harvest technology and more. Syndicate Sales took home the trophy with their Plant Amp, a portable multi-use glass amplifier that holds up to two succulents and a smartphone.
FreshBlooms Awarded Booth of Excellence
FreshBlooms’ booth was a show stopper with a multi-level global display showcasing their floral variety taking the top honor among more than 225 booths. “Our design-centric approach to the booth focus was built upon the core concept of our slogan ‘We Bring It All Together’. World-wide sourcing is a key strength for FreshBlooms, which we wanted to represent in an artful manner. This imagery was created with the use of open spheres that burst forth with foliages and flowers for a more organic interpretation. The heart of our booth showcased color blocked floral design that radiated out like a rainbow. Two spheres at eye level welcomed attendees while a third larger sphere overhead was comprised of a mixture of all of the colors. Each color is beautiful on its own, but when we combine them the real magic happens. This brought us back to ‘We Bring It All Together,’” said Rene Quinn, VP of FreshBlooms.
Mark your calendars for IFE 2018; June 25-27; McCormick Place, Chicago! See you there!