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First-Timers: ‘Just book it and go’ to SAF Amelia Island 2019

Sharing ideas and learning ways to improve your business are the best reasons to attend SAF Amelia Island 2019, the Society of American Florists 135th Annual Convention, according to last year’s first-time participants.

amelia2 Tanya Anderson, co-owner of Wascana Flower Shoppe in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, attended her first SAF convention last year with mom and co-owner, Petra Janssen. “You learn so much by listening to what works for others,” Anderson said. “The support and knowledge that we gain from our industry peers is incredibly valuable. The energy we create at convention when we are all together you will never find elsewhere.”

“It was 100-percent worth every penny and second,” she said. “We came home with an energy for our business that we haven’t had in years. That alone was worth everything.” 

Amber Ballance, general manager of Fairfield Flowers in Virginia Beach, VA, agreed.

“It is so important to refresh yourself as a florist… and meet other people that love flowers — just the positivity of it was amazing. It’s a phenomenal experience,” she said. “One of the coolest things for me was [meeting] people who were my age in the industry. I don’t always see that,” added the 32-year-old.

For Farai Madziva, vice president at Kitayama Bros. Inc. in Watsonville, CA, the SAF convention was an opportunity to meet with and understand what matters most to wholesalers, retailers and other growers.

“Meeting with florists was a big plus for me as I got to hear issues on quality and trends,” he said.

Anderson’s advice: “Just book it and go,” she said. “Don’t overthink it. Investing in yourself through your business is worth every penny.” 

SAF Amelia Island 2019 takes place Sept. 18-21 in Amelia Island, FL. For details, go to

Renee Houston Zemanski is a contributing writer for the Society of American Florists/