SAF 2019 Amelia Island

What do you get when you invite florist, wholesalers, importers, growers and a handful of other floral industry folks to a beautiful location in Florida? A wonderful event!

I had not attended an SAF event for many years but being in Florida this year, I decided to go and add some more retail news to

I really wanted to learn what affect the latest FTD news was having on retailers. I asked as many people, as would listen to me, and it seems that the major concern was. Will we get paid? So far it appears that they have been getting paid and with the new owners in place it looks like they have managed to keep the lights on and there is a future for FTD and its member florist.

When it comes to vendors and investors the story is not so bright. All of the money tossed in by investors before the bankruptcy filling has vanished along with all other stockholders value.

While I am sure there are many versions of this story, most agree that FTD buying Proflowers was the turning point. FTD made money, Proflowers did not (except for the original investors who profited greatly from the sale of Proflowers to FTD)

Moving on, I would like to say that this was a first class event, packed full of people, educational programs, social time, new products showcase, Supplier expo, and a Outstanding varieties competition.

At the new products showcase, I noticed that there were not less that five tech companies offering a variety of software solutions. Komet Sales, BloomNation, FloristWare, Flower Shop Network, and Detail flowers to name a few. It does indicate how important this segment has become to floral.

There were many fine presentations that did inspire people to think and evaluate their own companies and self.

Kate Penn SAF CEO told us of a new direction for SAF, Barry “Mr fantastic”Gottlieb, shared his knowledge on how to manage employees, Charlie Hall a professor at Texas A&M showed us the data why he predicts a downturn in the economy by 2021…maybe, and Dustin Garis did backflips to prove his message, “Revolt against Routine”

The Floral Endowment dinner was fun and a huge success by collecting some money for this great cause, 41+K!. The Endowment is responsible for the research that is helping solve technical growing problems, which is in all of our best interest, from breeders to consumers.

There was way too much information shared by these and many other speakers to articulate here and truth be told, you need to go and hear these for yourself at future events.

I do find it notable that the Colombian and Domestic growers were well represented, but the Ecuadorans (other than a few growers) were absent.

Finally, The Floral Marketer of the year was announced and my friend, J Schwanke won this prestigious and well earned award. J has manged to get his show “life in Bloom” on public television and showing a new world how and why we enjoy flowers.

The coveted, 2019 Sylvia Cup winner was Donald Yim, AIFD.

The Retailer of the year is Michael Kraft of Nanz and Kraft Florists

I give this show a thumbs up for many reasons. Good location, great hotel, serious (and fun) attendees, good programs and ample time to socialize. Well done!

Below is my video review from the event, thanks for reading and watching.

Williee Armellini
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