New England GROWS, the Northeast’s largest educational conference and green industry exposition, wrapped up on December 4 after three days of seminars and hands-on learning, combined with an exhibition showcasing the latest innovations from hundreds of leading industry exhibitors.
Opening day saw record-breaking attendance and overall the event attracted nearly 9,000 green industry professionals to Boston. Renowned authors, respected educators, influential environmentalists and successful entrepreneurs were among the many experts at the conference who addressed nearly every aspect of the green industry including sustainable landscape design, pest management, safe chain saw handling, hardscaping techniques, worker safety, diverse workforce management, giant tree propagation, proper plant selection, organic turf care, nursery management, successful marketing and more.
Previously scheduled in mid-February, this is the first New England GROWS conference held the week following Thanksgiving. For attendees it was an opportunity to absorb new ideas and prepare to implement them well in advance of spring operations. In his session on “Proven Strategies for Achieving Business Success,” speaker Dan Foley of DHCC Management Corporation addressed the advantages of the new dates:
“I feel that New England GROWS has provided a real gift to each of you… It is the gift of leverage and time, as you now have 109 days until your spring operations launch to implement the ideas that you take away from GROWS. That’s 55-60 full business days to act and make a real difference in your business!”
Top regional and national vendors showed off the latest products and technology for the green industry. Many vendors offered substantial discounts to attendees and the show floor was buzzing with commerce.
Exhibitor Kate French of OESCO in Conway, MA summed up feedback that was shared by many vendors at the show, “This was a kick-it-in-the-pants over February’s GROWS show! We were surprised how many new people became customers and how many of the ones who had not been attending for years returned. On the first day of the show we raced past our [sales] goal numbers and never looked back! It was a wonderful show and we’ll be back next year.”
When commenting on the success of the show, GROWS Executive Director Virginia Wood said, “From the outset, it was clear that the new dates might be a challenge for a portion of our stakeholders and we are grateful to those who enthusiastically supported the ‘new’ New England GROWS. Some veteran exhibitors, however, were not able to participate because two shows in one year was not feasible for them budget-wise. Others decided to sit this December out and see how the show performed. Right now, our renewal rate is fantastic and early reports indicate the expo hall will be jam-packed in 2016,” she concluded.
During the show New England GROWS debuted a new video – now available to everyone in the green industry – which highlights the advantages of a career in commercial horticulture and arboriculture. Finding Your Place in the Green Industry is available on YouTube and already has had more than 1100 views since its launch in early December.
The next New England GROWS will be held November 30 – December 2, 2016 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. For the latest information, follow New England GROWS on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, visit NewEnglandGrows.org, or call (508) 653-3009.