Tip Jar: The green team

Be part of a championship strategy that includes mingling with the entire supply chain.

June 17, 2014

It is the opening night of the NFL Draft and this Cleveland Browns fan is hoping for the best and fearing the worst. And, it reminds me that my first Tip Jar article for Nursery Management focused on a winner; quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. In that piece I likened the merger of OFA and ANLA to the AFC and NFC joining forces to become the NFL. That football marriage created the Super Bowl which, according to the International Business Times, is repeatedly the most watched program on television.

As reported by the Trade Show News Network, when the OFA Short Course first debuted in the top 200 largest trade shows in North America, it ranked 194. Seven years later in 2013, it came in at 147, continuing its reign as the champion of green-industry trade shows on this side of the world.

Now that OFA and ANLA have grown into AmericanHort, the 85-year-old Short Course has rebranded itself as Cultivate’14. It takes place July 12-15 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Ohio’s capital. Additionally, the show is expanding this year by 50,000 square feet with the new Retail Terrace.

Don’t mistakenly think this event is just for greenhouse producers and garden center owners. With the ANLA member base, it will very likely continue to take on components that cater to woody ornamental growers. In fact, this year there’s a nursery production tour on Saturday, July 12th to Northeast Ohio to visit Klyn Nurseries, Cottage Gardens, Herman Losely & Sons and Willowbend Nurseries.

Look at it this way; think of the ornamental industry segment as one member of a football team. A good player will focus on their own position, but a player who is well-rounded by being aware of his teammates, their positions and knowing as much as he can about the game, has a better chance of becoming great.

Cultivate is a major opportunity for woody growers to expand their business horizons. How? It is a window into the international horticultural world. Learn how, what, when and where other grower segments of the green industry are advancing in technology, plant development and marketing. If you sell to IGCs, you need to know what is catching their attention and what they are purchasing. Step out of the box and see what allied plants you might consider adding to your product mix to increase your sales.

Don’t believe me? Listen to what your peers are saying.

Tom Demaline of Willoway Nurseries said, “Having exposure to new products and marketing programs in July allows us time to add them in our production plan the following spring. This can reduce the time to bring new plants to market by a year.”

Greg Schaan of Monrovia said, “The education program always includes progressive approaches to improving production results. We have implemented a number of new ideas learned at this event into our perennial production processes. These changes make us more efficient and profitable.”

There is so much to see and do at Cultivate’14 that I’m going to suggest utilizing the “My Show Planner” on their website, www.cultivate14.org. You can create a custom itinerary which includes mapping out sessions you want to attend, exhibitors to visit, appointments you’ve made, social events and more.

In closing, I’d like to quote Donald Trump, “As long as you are going to think anyway, you might as well think big.” You don’t get much bigger in our industry than Cultivate’14.


Maria Zampini is president of Upshoot LLC and Director of Plant Development and Ornamental Program Manager for the HGTV HOME Plant Collection.