From July 9-12, the horticulture industry convened at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio for Cultivate’16. This year, the event featured 600 exhibitors and more than 130 educational sessions, with about 10,000 visitors.
Attendees who arrived Saturday had the opportunity to tour regional greenhouse and nursery growers, plus Easton Town Center, which offered retail inspiration from outside of the industry. The AmericanHort Board of Directors said farewell to retiring members and welcomed new ones, and also introduced Ken Fisher, the organization’s new CEO and president. Fisher announced what’s in store for Cultivate’17, including a 30,000-square-foot expansion of the trade show floor and a fast-pitch stage to showcase new products.
Fisher addresses the crowd at Cultivate's Morning Jolt! keynote session.
The new executive's impassioned plea to the industry was simple: "What we do together matters." He called for all AmericanHort members and trade show attendees alike to tweet @American_Hort to tell the association how it can do a better job, whether through advocacy, research, or business connections.
Cultivate'16 continued with a state of the industry update from Dr. Charlie Hall. Dr. Hall covered everything from Brexit to the upcoming presidential election and presented reasons why now is the time to make strategic investments. We visited the redesigned New Varieties Zone and picked some of our favorites. We also checked in with Cannabis Business Times Editor Noelle Skodzinski. She offered her take on how the ornamental and cannabis industries interact.
As the final day of Cultivate’16 came to a close, vendors wrapped up orders and attendees made notes of products and plants to purchase. The founders of the GrowIt! app shared the stats they've collected on gardening consumers. One particularly juicy fact: the top three plant searches nationwide were succulents, roses and tomatoes.
We heard from keynote speaker Scott Steinberg, a business futurist and consultant, who discussed how horticulture companies can take small steps that lead to big business innovations.
"All it takes is one idea to change the shape of the whole industry," Steinberg said. Look for more from his talk in our August issue.
We also learned of two retailers who dropped “garden center” from their names based on data from AmericanHort’s Shift Research Initiative.
Cultivate’17 will take place July 15-18 in Columbus. Read more about the upcoming changes to Cultivate'17 here.