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Exhibitors mainly happy at WFE

Oren Shapiro had a booth along one of the main aisles of the World Floral Expo at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, and handled a steady stream of interested buyers at the show. Mr. Shapiro, president of Mrs. Bloom’s (Thai) Direct, pronounced himself satisfied with the foot traffic and the interest shown by buyers. “It was a great show for us,” he summarized.

Robert Ilsink, a director of Interplant Roses in Holland, was not unhappy with the show, but he wanted more. “There could be more people here. There could be more exhibitors here,” he said.

An informal survey of exhibitors found most pleased with the show, but some, including the show organizer, Dick van Raamsdonk, president of HPP Exhibitions in Holland, wanted more. “It’s frustrating,” he said. “We can’t seem to bring it to the next level, and the U.S. market is unpredictable.”

Daniel Velez de Monchaux, manager of Suasuque, a family flower farm near Bogota, Colombia, was looking for the missing link. “We are the only alstroemeria growers here, and that gives us an advantage,” he said. “But we only sell to wholesalers and there are few wholesalers here.”

Amy of Amy’s Orchids, a Thai grower and importer with offices there and in Virginia, was pleased to greet many familiar faces and draw interest from a segment she wants to work with more closely: interior designers and special event planners.

Ravi Patel, manager of Subati Flowers, a grower in Nairobi, Kenya, felt that the visitors to his booth were giving a close look to his roses, grown in the Rift Valley at an altitude of one-and-one-half miles, and serious about buying. “They were interested,” he said.