November 15, 2014
By Heather MacRae
LO Director of Events and Trade Shows

On Oct. 9, the LO trade show department hosted a meeting of the minds to discuss the future of Garden and Floral Expo, as well as the other shows that serve our industry.

This meeting was like no other, and included some of the founders of this association, as well as a number of our exhibitors.

Many issues were discussed, including ideas like co-locations, new locations, as well as the need for yet another show to serve the garden centre and growers market.

Although nothing specific was decided at the meeting, the ultimate response was YES, we need a show like Expo to serve the sector of the market that does not have an ‘invite-only’ venue. We are the only show for this market that welcomes all.

With that question answered, the next question became, How should we present the show? Which new markets should we engage? What time of year works best for most people? What location is the right location?

Most importantly, the group agreed that Expo needs to retain, and indeed enhance, our uniqueness. It’s that uniqueness that prompts buyers to actually pay to meet with those who belong to this defined group of growers and garden centre owners. No other marketing medium can claim this.

Some keys to ensure this happens are:
  • Change our attendance model
  • Facilitate scheduled encounters between key buyers
  • Identify our market’s super buyers
  • Go to a low cost conference program
All of these steps will help us re-invent Expo.

For me, the most amazing part of the meeting was the incredible feedback delivered with care and the compassion by those present, who expressed they want  to continue with multiple trade show and face-to-face business opportunities. That process will continue, as we work toward our new format in the coming months. We will keep you informed of those changes when they happen.

Anyone who cares to express an opinion on the future of Expo is welcome to contact me at