view current print edition







IFE wraps up in Chicago and moving to Miami next year

chicago — The 2018 International Floriculture Expo June 25-27 at McCormick Place, here, drew more than 1,500 floral industry professionals for three days of education sessions, awards, networking events and a bustling trade show floor.

My first impression of the show floor was the large, open layout and the number of new exhibitors, including over 18 companies from Canada. However, some vendors mentioned that there seemed to be fewer large companies exhibiting this year.

BOOTH-OF-EXCELLENCESunshine Bouquet Co. in Miami took top honors among nearly 200 competitors for its display, winning the Booth of Excellence Award. IFE’s Education Day featured a program that included over 250 participants who listened to 20-plus speakers discuss everything from sourcing and labor to 3D virtual reality bouquets and planograms, according to a news release.

New this year was a Supply Chain and Transportation Solution Forum that brought together suppliers & retailers to discuss relevant topics affecting the industry today, such as 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.

The 2018 IFE honors and awards included:

Bradley Gaines, is director of floral at United Supermarkets/Market Street in Lubbock, TX, was honored at the Flower Naming Ceremony for his 20-plus years of service to the industry. The new flower, bred by Ball, was a sunflower with a gold center and was named “Bradley.”

Hy-Vee Omaha No. 2 in Omaha, NE, won the Merchandising Award of Excellence for its display, “Valentine’s Day: Our Love is Written in the Stars,” designed by Cindy Fitzgerald and Michelle Beeson. They were presented with a vizzii vase from Syndicate Sales who will help them do a free vase giveaway in their stores for their customers. 

Sunshine Bouquet Co. took top honors among nearly 200 competitors for its display, winning the Booth of Excellence Award.

Syndicate Sales won the Innovation Battlefield competition with its viizzii™ vase and was awarded the trophy for most innovative new product. Five companies were selected to participate in the annual New Product Innovation Battlefield Competition, emceed by J Schwanke, and competitors were given only two minutes to showcase their product and win over the audience.

Adam Havrilla of Artistic Blooms in Chicago was named 2018 IFE Iron Designer — only the second person to win the title twice in Iron Designer history. 

He was chosen by AIFD judges out of eight competitors tasked with creating a design in just 20 minutes that incorporated a hat and hatbox guided by the theme of “Discover more…outside the box.” The theme was in honor of the late Bobbi Ecker-Blatchford who always wore hats with flowers to show her love and commitment to the floral industry.

After four years in Chicago, IFE announced its relocation to Miami next year for the 2019 event. IFE was formerly held in Miami for nearly a decade and organizers hope the return there will allow the expo to host even more buyers.

“We are excited about this move and are confident it will make attending and exhibiting at this show easier and more profitable for all involved,” said Event Manager Harrison Hines in the release. “So mark you calendars for June 18-20, 2019. We’re looking forward to another exciting and successful show.”