Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tradeshow Report Summer 2009

Well the summer tradeshow season has come and gone for us here at Magnolia Gardens Nursery. It has been a few weeks of whirlwind travel for me so I have not had much time to post anything. I am finally getting settled back in after a week back home so I thought I would write a few things that were on my mind before I take off again with Neil one of the managers at our container division to Amsterdam to visit nurseries and the flower auction as well as a good friend who recently moved there. After that we fly over to Ireland to the IPPS International conference. I am really excited about this as I have never been to Ireland or Holland and have never been to an International IPPS meeting that was outside of the US, weee! Also I am excited about meeting Pat FitzGerald who we have done some work with and someone who’s tweets I really enjoy reading. All right enough about the future because you will certainly hear about that once it is the past. For now let’s get on with the past!

August 10th marked the first day of my 2 weeks of travel. I took a flight to Dallas, TX…I know I go far when I travel! LOL! I would have driven but I did not want to have to drive back to Houston to have to fly out again to Colorado. I left on the 10th because I am a member of the Parks and Patio task force. This is a group of people that are in charge of decorating the TNLA Expo with gardens, mixed containers and more. Without these areas the tradeshow would just be plain and boring. Plus we have to go big because the Expo is in Texas y’all! For more on this group see the article I wrote about them here:


Not much to see here yet!
The GIANT fountain being installed. 

Monday through Thursday was spent decorating the hall, the hall went to complete flat concrete to a masterpiece in just 4 short days.A shot of one Parks and patio area, also nice to see Flirt Nandina front and Center!

The herb garden I was in charge of putting together, came out better that expected! 
I was not there to witness but I am sure the whole thing came down a lot quicker….probably 4 hours! During my time with Parks and Patio I went to check to see how Holly was doing on her own since I was not there to help. Of course she was perfectly fine on her own and our booth was rockin’! For those of you who where at Expo you might remember it from the hot orange colors..or maybe Stacie caught your eye.  We didn't win best booth award, a prefabricated booth won, kinda bummed but we know ours was a winner in the hearts of the Expo visitors.  A booth has to be good when people want to take pictures of it and with Stacie!  Next year we will be back with an even better booth...we are already formulating ideas!
Blue..Orange, Fabulous together! For sure stood out in all of the Green of the show.
Disco was the theme, we even did some dancin'!
Green Walls! Also you can see Holly's pic on the B&W poster above!
Love is in the air!

Friday August 14th marked the first day of the Expo and Holly and I were happy to see the mood nor the traffic were as bad as we had been expecting. People seemed upbeat, traffic was good though a little down and we actually sold a little product which helped pay for the show so that was a bonus. Amy Prenger with the TNLA State office had this to say “Our total attendance was 7,025! Last year we were at 7,029. The attendees, not counting exhibitor personnel, was actually up about 8%. Our total exhibitor personnel was down, but attendees were up!” So I guess it was more than a feeling there were more people walking the show this year. Our newest Nandina, Flirt at the PDSI booth!

Around noon I left the Expo and headed for the airport to fly out to Colorado Springs because I was running in the half marathon the next day….acclimate…who needs to acclimate, that is for wimps. Ok, just kidding! If I had time I would have gone earlier, it might have helped, at least I like to think that was why I was huffing and puffing more than normal. The half marathon is called the Pike’s Peak Accent, I call it the run to the top of the world, because you run to the top of Pike’s Peak. A view from the top of the world.
Each step closer equals less oxygen in the air, by the time I reached the top I had reached the Rocky Mountain High that John Denver sings about. I made the journey in 4 hours and 48 minutes, I am thinking next year to do the full marathon because I must really love pain, haha! I did do my own Pike’s Peak decent 2 days later to see who this felt, it is a lot harder than you would think, took me 3 hours 30 minutes, 13 miles on flat road takes me just under 2 hours. My legs hurt more from the decent than the accent, but at least I was not breathing as hard going down, just had to watch my feet more carefully so that I did not fall and bash my teeth out!

After my time in Colorado Springs was up I flew directly to Portland, Oregon for the Farwest show on Wednesday the 19th of August. I got there later than we normally get there but I did not have much selection coming out of the tiny COS airport. I did get there in time to at least help Holly a little with setup then to go enjoy our traditional meal at Nicolas Restaurant, a hole in the wall place with great Lebanese food. Fresh homemade bread and hummus, what more could you ask for? After are satisfying meal we headed to Hood River where we would spend the night before the first day of the show. The show starts at noon everyday so we like to spend our time exploring Oregon. In Hood River we shopped a little and found a brewery called Full Sail that had some tasty beer. Decisions, Decisions...
After that it was off to the hotel for a much needed full night’s rest. The tradeshow in Oregon was again more upbeat than we expected, we changed booth locations and this seemed to bring us better traffic, only we hope next year giant palms won’t be blocking our view, I always thought 10’x10’ meant that but I suppose you could take that sizing as meaning you are getting a bigger booth, hmmmm. Still groovin' on the West Coast!
The OAN had this to say about the show “Members reported that in spite of the worst recession in decades, which resulted in less activity than prior years on the show floor, there was still a spirit of optimism. Many trust that the industry will regain its footing during the recovery, which economists believe is already underway.” We gave away blinky lights, a USA flag to go with our all liners are grown in the USA campaign. These were a big hit at both tradeshows, not sure if it will help business, not sure if any giveaways actually do, but it did bring us attention at the show. After the first day we got to go to our hotel in downtown Portland, I was really excited about this since it was new and a boutique hotel, just my style. The name is The Nines, and appropriately so, this place was amazing. The view from our room of the Urban Farmer.
Our room, I know.....jealous huh?
It is in the former Meyer & Frank building and it is unique, at least to me, because the lobby was on the 8th floor. The restaurant was on this floor as well, some of the rooms looked down onto the restaurant, like ours that was on the 10th floor. Great drinks at the Urban Farmer but we never ate there so I don’t know how to rate the food. We did get to enjoy a meal at Jake’s Grill which is always lovely, wish I had saved room for dessert! The next night we enjoyed greasy bar food at our new favorite hole in the wall bar with no name, across from the physic….which yes is a tradition to go to as well! We also enjoyed a few cocktails at Saucebox, if you like interesting drinks this is the place to go…then walk back across the street for more fried goodies at the bar with no name! A tradition, get a few fancy drinks at SauceBox, while people watching Mary's across the street.
This lady knows things she shouldn't! Probably sees dead people too!

All in all we felt Portland was successful in the contacts we made and we look forward to continuing to build relationships with our West Coast friends.

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