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Floral Council spearheads exhibitor increases at PMA’s Fresh Summit

The reconstituted Floral Council will make its presence known at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit with a record number of floral exhibitors, most on display in a new floral pavilion, the hub for floral at PMA. The council also boosted PMA floral membership over the past year and will welcome a new chairman at the show, Oct. 18-20 in New Orleans.

PMA officials noted Sept. 18 that 94 Fresh Summit exhibitors had identified themselves as floral industry exhibitors, and that PMA floral membership was up by 30 percent since fall 2012. The new council chair will be Joe Don Zetzsche, director of floral for H-E-B in San Antonio, TX. He will take the reins, succeeding Michael Schrader, when the council meets at Fresh Summit (see story, page 114).

PMA-FLORAL1212-TRACI-ADAMS-Traci Adams of Safeway won the 2012 Floral Marketer of the Year award and will present the 2013 award.The Fresh Summit program aims to bring supply chain communities together around their business interests, said Jim Sarcletti, director of produce and floral for Supervalu, chairman of the 2013 Fresh Summit committee. Sarcletti, quoted in a PMA news release, stated, “To us, that means helping them connect with one another, making sure they are up on the latest trends and information, and providing forums for them to work together on business solutions.”

Schrader, director of floral at Schnuck Markets in St. Louis, chaired the Floral Council since its rebirth after a two-year hiatus in October 2011. He said the council drive had sold out space in the 5,600-square-foot floral pavilion last November, and resulted in a 30 percent increase in PMA floral membership. “The response was fantastic,” he said. “Most industry people want to be part of the new, independent floral affiliate.”

The council’s main outreach was through “town meetings” and industry events. Town meetings were held at Anaheim, CA, and Miami. Council members also attended industry meetings such as the International Floriculture Expo in Miami Beach, FL; and Fresh Connections: Retail events in Charlotte, NC, and San Diego.

“The next big job for the council is to develop a plan of work and a budget to support it,” Schrader added. “We need to create year-round value for Floral Council members.” Schrader will step down as chairman and leave the council because of new work responsibilities.  

The key Fresh Summit floral event will be an Oct. 19 floral networking reception where the Floral Marketer of the Year award will be presented. Established in 1981, the 2013 award will be presented by Traci Adams, last year’s winner. Adams is vice president and general manager of Safeway Corporate Floral.

Among the 15 education sessions are two identified by PMA as holding interest for the floral community, on social media and retaining key employees. General session speakers include author Peter Sheahan, on how organizations must change for the new marketplace; and Mat Shore, founder of Outside In, who will discuss “the seven deadly sins of innovation.”

Also on the agenda are women’s leadership, emerging leaders and young professionals events, a New Products Showcase featuring digital innovations and awards for excellence in packaging. PMA officials expect about 20,000 attendees from 60 countries as the show, now in its 64th year, returns to New Orleans for the first time since 2002. PMA formed a division to represent its mass-market floral members in 1974.