Out of this world

Allen, Michael

Southern Nursery Association is expanding its horizons by delivering more worlds of horticulture through strategic partnerships.

FOR many attendees, the Southern Nursery Association’s (SNA) 2003 trade show seemed like a brand new event. That might seem surprising for a trade show that has been in existence for more than 50 years, but with a new convention hall, new trade-show floor, new product areas, and new partnerships, the show barely resembled previous years.

“We had more changes at SNA in 2003 than we’ve had in the last 20 years,” says Danny Summers, SNA executive vice president. “It was the culmination of a lot of work from a lot of different people.”

The most apparent change to this year’s event was an expanded trade show hall with nearly 2 1/2 acres of additional exhibit space. The trade show also featured segmented product areas, or “worlds,” that grouped exhibitors with similar products together. Traditionally known for its woody nursery products, SNA used the “worlds” to attract nontraditioiial exhibitors and attendees.

Color World, for example, was created through a partnership with OFA and the Southeast Greenhouse Conference. Greenhouse Grower was the sponsoring magazine.

According to Summers, a popular new feature of this year’s event was the World Stage, an educational venue in the middle of the trade show floor that featured some of the industry’s premier speakers on new plants, combination planters, and retail products. On Saturday, Bob Jacobson, The Home Depot’s senior director of merchandising for live goods, presented “The Future Of Lawn & Garden In Big Boxes.”

Retailers’ Raves & Faves

Retail consultant Robert Hendrickson of The Garden Center Marketing Group turned retailers loose on the tradeshow floor to find products that caught their eye. The products that received the most votes were presented to attendees during a fun and informative seminar on the World Stage.

Plant finds included:

* The white-colored ‘Autumn Angel’ in the Encore Azaleas collection.

* A summer-blooming camelia with leaves that can be used to make tea.

* Twice As Nice daylilies from Novalis, which rebloom.

* A ruffled caladium Thai Beauty’ and a large, silver plate type of kalanchoe from Excelsa Gardens.

* Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer,’ which blooms on new growth. Bred in Michael Dirr’s program at the University of Georgia, the plants are being grown through a distribution network and marketed in attractive packaging. For more information, visit www.endlesssummerblooms.com.

Hard goods finds included:

* A shopping cart from Wellmaster Carts that resembles a grocery cart with a belted child seat, leak-proof tires and an optional handbrake.

* A consumer and retail friendly growing media display cart from Fafard that’s attractive and easy to maneuver.

* Oracle Fountains made out of a durable fiberglass composite with multiple stone and metallic finishes. Retailers liked that the fountains are lightweight, long lasting, and low cost.

* The innovative SoilSoup Kitchen, which dispenses SoilSoup coinpost tea.

* Van Bloem Gardens’ Aqua Bloom ebb-and-flood display table to show off aquatic plants. It’s showy enough to put in the front of the store versus the back.

* New display tables from Novalis, which prevent pots from falling over.

* The twirly, hanging Wind Diva decorative trinkets to hang with windchimes and related ornaments. These are a sure bet for gift and impulse sales.

* Multi-layered pot covers from Highland Supply Corp., which store flat and are easily assembled with elastic bands. They come in a wide range of sizes.

* The Tomahawk Tree Stabilizer from Border Concepts, which anchors trees’ rootballs to the ground. It could revolutionize tree installation.

* Custom signs that can be ordered online through Horticultural Printers.

* West County Gardeners gardening gloves, which are washable, breathable, and abrasion resistant. They’re modeled after cycling gloves.

* The Pottery Patch’s stacking pots and tabletop fountains.

Ready For Next Year

SNA’s Summers reports that although the official numbers weren’t complete at press time, early indications are that attendance was about even with previous years. The number of businesses in attendance at the show may have actually improved, he says, but “the overall economy may have meant that businesses brought fewer people to the show.”

What was for certain was with the expanded tradeshow hall, attendees had more ground to cover. Some exhibitors reported slower traffic within their specific areas. “We’ll need to find ways to drive traffic to a few of those areas,” Summers says. “We have some fine-tuning to do. It was a great start. We have the right idea. We’ll take some comments and thoughts and move forward next year.”

This winter, you can join SNA overseas at IPM (Internationale Pflanzen Messe Essen) January 29 – February 1 in Essen, Germany. For more information about SNA and upcoming events, contact 770-953-3311, fax 770-953-4411, email mail@mail.sna.org, or visit the Web site, www.sna.org.



Copyright Meister Publishing Company Sep 2003

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

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