NEW YORK — The World Floral Expo seemed to be building an audience as it held its three-day run in New York for the second straight year and drew more people than last year, with registration up 12 percent. The show was held March 13-15 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York.
Jasper van Dijk, marketing manager for the sponsor, HPP Exhibitions in Holland, said about 1,000 buyers attended the show and viewed 89 exhibits in an area at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center that was expanded about 42 percent over last year’s space. The design demonstration area was also expanded, he said. “We’re beginning to draw more floral designers and event planners,” he added. “There are a lot of them in the New York area.”
Among the supermarket chains represented at the show were the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., ShopRite and Whole Foods. Roses were the main product on exhibit by companies from more than a dozen countries including the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. New products on display (see story, page 114) included green orchids, premium large spray roses and luau kits with orchid leis and other items for event planners.
Jet Fresh Flower Distributor, a Miami importer and distributor, had an unusual booth with about 400 flowers in water tubes implanted into a wall of flowers that displayed the range of flowers available through Jet Fresh. Edwin Balaguer, a sales representative, said the firm had a similar wall with a fresh display every week “so our sales staff can see what we have and how it holds up over the week.” The office wall holds 200 varieties of flowers on any given day, and 100 types of roses.
Jet Fresh also had a magician who did mindreading, card tricks, fork-bending via brain waves and the old shell game with tennis balls instead of a pea. Ben Cohen, who wore a yarmulke and billed himself as “The Most Recommended Magician in the Jewish Community,” explained that he had to size up the visitors quickly and decide which trick would draw them in.
“You have to judge in a split-second what would appeal to them, how long their attention span is, and start the game to get them engaged,” Mr. Cohen said, clapping an acquiescent visitor on the back and whispering, “Now you’ve got a chalk mark on your back.”
Jacqueline Boerma, head of the Boerma Instituut in Holland, and her colleague, Manon Groot Enzerink, held daily floral design demonstrations covering the latest trends and flower designs. They also offered hands-on design workshops that ran for two and one-half hours each day.
The 2014 World Floral Expo will move to another U.S. city, to be named shortly, HPP announced March 28.