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PMA event brings mass-market floral supply chain together in Miami

The Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Connection: Floral Miami brought together a who’s who of mass-market retail sellers and buyers to learn about new trends in floral, and to simply celebrate the floral community, according to a news release. More than 200 people gathered at the Hyatt Regency Miami from across the floral and potted plant supply chain — including breeders and growers, importers and exporters, retailers and suppliers

“Spending time together as community is very important to this industry,” Joe Don Zetzsche, director of floral and Blooms at H-E-B and PMA board director, said in the release. “This event fed both our professions and our passions.”

KROGERJoe Jessup from the Kroger Co. with Jessica Pearce and Bisser Georgiev from LiveTrends Design Group.The daylong July 13 event opened with a networking session to engage attendees and get them interacting with each other. The first educational session featured an update on trends that are driving consumer demand for floral by Katie Dubow of Garden Media Group, an industry consultant who influences consumer media coverage. In the second session, an international panel of plant breeders discussed new varieties and products in the pipeline that will spark sales; and the day closed with a networking reception.

The previous afternoon, buyers and sellers participated in optional Floral Buyer Roundtables, 10-minute introductory meetings designed to help buyers and sellers make connections and open doors to more in-depth dialogue.

“The mass-market floral retail industry has a tremendous opportunity to grow our sales to consumers,” Carlos Oramas, chief executive officer at Gems Group and PMA Floral Council vice chair, said in the release. “Events like this give us the business information and customer connections we need to do that.”

Fresh Connections: Floral Miami included a program to help university students explore career opportunities in the mass-market floral industry. The students participated in a Career Pathways student-attraction program for the floral industry conducted by Center for Growing Talent by PMA. To date, 67 percent of students who participated in a Career Pathways program took a job or internship in the industry after they graduated.

“The fresh floral industry is a fascinating, diverse industry, yet few college students know about us, which means they don’t think of us as a career choice,” said Oramas. “Career Pathways is helping us to change that.”