2018 International Floriculture Expo Recap and Highlights
Iron Designer, Innovation Battlefield, Flower Naming, Merchandising Award of Excellence and more
Chicago, IL (July 18, 2018) – The 2018 International Floriculture Expo held last week at McCormick Place in Chicago wrapped with more than 1,500 floral industry professionals gathering for three days of education sessions, awards, networking events and a busy trade show floor.
IFE’s Education Day delivered a meaningful conference program that drew more than 250 participants from around the globe tuning in to hear 20+ speakers discussing everything from sourcing and labor to 3D virtual reality bouquets and planograms. Tuesday kicked-off with Floral Flash Networking, a “speed-networking” event that paired qualified suppliers and high-volume buyers together resulting in 144 business meetings in just one hour.
New this year was a Supply Chain and Transportation Solution Forum, which gathered, suppliers & retailers to discuss the hard-hitting topics affecting the industry today – supply chain logistics and transportation. The open-format forum engaged thought leaders in critical discussions to provide solutions to the most pressing operational issues and current transportation issues. An introduction and overview was led by Global Cold Chain Alliance President/CEO Corey Rosenbusch, followed by a presentation diving deeper into floral-specific challenges and an industry discussion led by Sam Helgren and Eli Bice from England Logistics.
IFE also announced a much anticipated relocation to Miami, Florida for the 2019 event. With Florida being a hub for the floral industry the show is expected to grow and be able to offer additional benefits and significant savings to exhibitors and vendors and will allow for IFE to host even more buyers and put additional investments into the show. IFE was held in Miami for nearly a decade and the exhibitors and attendees remarked that they are looking forward to returning and having advanced networking opportunities. Mark your calendar for June 18-20, 2019!
2018 HONORS AND AWARDS:
Flower Naming Ceremony Honors Bradley Gaines, United Supermarkets
Bradley Gaines of United Supermarkets, a longtime floral industry leader, was presented with the Flower Naming honor. The flower, bred by Ball, was a bold sunflower with a gold center, appropriately named “Bradley.”
Merchandising Award of Excellence goes to Hy-Vee
Hy-Vee Omaha #2 in Omaha, Nebraska won the 2018 Merchandising Awards of Excellence for a Valentine’s Display designed by Cindy Fitzgerald and Michelle Beeson. The award was presented by Super Floral and Syndicate Sales at the Toast to the Industry Reception.
Adam Havrilla Wins Iron Designer for Second Time
Adam Havrilla of Artistic Blooms took home the trophy for Iron Designer – only the second person in to win the title twice in Iron Designer history! He was chosen by AIFD judges out of 8 competitors from around the country tasked with creating a masterpiece in just 20 minutes using floral foam accessories from Smithers Oasis. Jose Morales of Continental Flowers was awarded Crowd Choice honors.
Sunshine Bouquet Awarded Booth of Excellence Award
Sunshine Bouquet’s took top honors among nearly 200 competitors for their stunning display which greeted buyers who entered the show floor. Attendees couldn’t miss the multi-faceted creation which was reminiscent of an old barn with steel-like accents and an impressive central display of their finest floral bouquets.
Syndicate Sales Wins Innovation Battlefield
New technologies, efficiencies, design and packaging solutions were highlighted in this third annual new product competition. Live presentations included FreshPaq by Chrysal, Team Flag Roses by Farm Direct Corporation, Mini Sasha Hydrangea by GROFLOWERS, Twist & Trade by Homestead Growers and the viizzii™ vase by Syndicate Sales which was awarded the trophy for most innovative new product. Each company was given only 2 minutes to showcase their innovative new product and win over the audience.