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The Produce Marketing Association’s newly rejuvenated floral council has scored a hit with its first major project, a floral pavilion at the PMA Fresh Summit in New Orleans Oct. 18-20. At the March 6 meeting of the 30-member council in Dallas, the group learned that the floral pavilion had been expanded to hold 10 more companies, and space has been sold out.

“It is the largest floral representation at Fresh Summit,” Michael Schrader, floral director at Schnuck Markets in St. Louis and chairman of the council, told The Produce News March 7. An additional four floral companies are exhibiting, but not in the pavilion, he added.

The council chose the floral pavilion as its first project to give greater visibility to floral companies exhibiting at the Fresh Summit and provide a location for networking among floral professionals attending the show. It initially secured a commitment from PMA for 5,000 square feet of prime convention floor space dedicated to floral companies.

The council’s aim is to develop an independent, self-supporting floral affiliate under the PMA umbrella that is a voice “for the industry, by the industry,” as Mr. Schrader put it. It intends to bring together all segments of the industry to help each other with their individual challenges and to give floral more visibility.

“The council worked diligently to identify and develop the everyday value the floral affiliate will provide the industry,” Mr. Schrader said. “There is much work to do but an unbelievable amount of excitement among the members.”