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WF&FSA’s 2017 Floral Distribution Conference — another great success

More than 770 attendees made their way to Miami, Oct. 18-20 for the Wholesale Florist & Florist Suppliers Association’s 2017 Floral Distribution Conference. The three-day conference was held at the Miami Airport Convention Center and was attended by many top businesses in the floral wholesaler and supplier channels. The event also set a record with 128 table top exhibitors.

DAVE-GAUL-2DAVE GAUL Networking and education were the focal points of the conference, which kicked off with a logistics tour of the floral industry in Miami. Later that evening, a Havana Casino opening event was held, providing all attendees with a terrific platform for networking and discussing business opportunities. The first conference speaker was Kris Kratt, owner at Shaffer Designs, who gave a very impactful presentation on trends and how those trends influence buying in the industry.

Kratt pulled together a number of interesting themes, which gave the attendees a clear road map of how to connect with their customers in the upcoming year and beyond. During WF&FSA’s business meeting, Dave Gaul of Denver Wholesale Florist, was presented with the organization’s prestigious Leland T. Kintzele Distinguished Service Award. The award is given annually to one individual who exemplifies the integrity, fairness, perseverance and decisiveness of Leland T. Kintzele, president of WF&FSA from 1963 to 1966.

Ironically, Kintzele was the sales manager at DWF, the same company that Gaul just retired from after a long and storied career in the industry, most recently also in the position of sales manager. The recipient of the other major 2017 FDC recognition was Lori Haveman and Kennedy’s Flowers and Gifts in Grand Rapids, MI. Lori and her company were presented with the 2017 Retail Florist of the Year Award. The closing session of the conference, “Facing the Forces of Change; Navigating the Seas of Disruption,” provided attendees with a sobering perspective of the disruptors and the changes that they are creating in distribution channels today.

Mark Youreck of IBM led a panel of industry experts through a discussion of how to both understand the changes and what can be done to deal with them. The 2018 Floral Distribution Conference will be held at the same venue in Miami, Oct. 17-19.

Nick Fronduto is chief operating officer at Jacobson Floral Supply, Inc. in Boston, MA. He can be contacted at