No, I am not boycotting February. Sometimes work gets in the way of blogging and sharing the latest gardening items with fellow bloggers is always a pleasure. What is new for 2010? I didn't see too much in evidence at this year's Grows Show in Boston. There are a couple reasons for this. The first is that time is required in the booths in which one is exhibiting so there is limited time to check out other vendors. The other is that the New England Grows Show has become a show devoted to landscapers and arborists rather than garden centers so there is more equipment such as chain saws and tractors than new garden items. You will hear that attendance was up. You will hear that there were an equal number of booths to last year. The truth is that attendance my be up. I spoke with dozens of Agriculture students.
This is good but they do not buy. They are future customers. I did see many booths hosting Associations such as the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association. Also good. They don't buy product either but support their membership and recruit new members. There were many of my customers, the garden center buyers, who did not go to the show because they have already done their buying in October and November at the Distributor Shows. Many of my customers have a Landscape Division and they are exhibitors at this show. New England does need a trade show for garden centers and this show is failing them. Most of the buying for garden centers occurs in the fall when there are early order programs and extended dating programs. Neither of these options are available in February. The success of a show lies in the numbers of orders written by the vendors not just in the number of attendees. A vendor must cover costs and gain enough business to offset the show expenses. The expense of this show, in comparison to the Mid Atlantic, MANTS, and CENTS, or Central trade show is exorbitant and much of the reason for that lies in the hands of the labor unions controlling the docks. A vendor is charged for everything and is not allowed to even bring in an upright carrier although we cheat if we can.
I expect to see even fewer garden center owners at this show next year. The only incentive for garden center personnel to go to this show is to attend the seminars to gain the necessary pesticide credits. Well, that and seeing the big equipment. Without the vendors paying the way for the seminars, there will be fewer available. I think my attendance at this trade show is coming to a close. Two of my vendors have reduced booth space from four booths down to two and two vendors have pulled out of the show. That leaves two with one booth each and very few orders written.
This is not my usual post. I know this is a rant. I feel I should apologize but it helps to rant doesn't it?