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Breaking into Interior Foliage Retail Sales

TPIE: The indoor plant event of the year. I have answered multiple calls this past month from companies just breaking into the Tropical foliage retail industry. It's exciting to see movement and revitalization in our industry again. This question always comes up, Where do I get more information on other nurseries, plant varieties, and trucking?

TPIE (Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition) January 18 –20 at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale is the place to get yourself immersed in interior foliage. Here you can find new plant vendors with the latest trends along with hard goods, Point of Purchase strategies, and transportation solutions. This year's event is stacking up to be one of the best in years due to increased demand. So, if you're considering going to this show "which I highly recommend" here are some quick words of advise.

Book your hotel reservations NOW! The best lodging I'm sure is well on its way to capacity. Even if your plans on attending fall through you will be able to cancel the reservation ahead of time with no penalty. (Be sure to double check the housing or hotel rules on their cancellation policies). Be sure to check the TPIE website for a list of Host Hotels. These hotels will have scheduled bus transportation to and from the convention hall. The hotels within walking distance on 17th street will fill up first.

Plan A LOT of time for the show floor. If your really interested in gleaning all the information out of the show it will take the full three days. Walk the floor in a systematic pattern to ensure every aisle is covered. Concentrate on covering half the show floor each day for the first two days and leave the last day to float and revisit booths that carry the greatest interest. There is a lot that goes on at the show including foliage and retail education seminars along with demonstrations at the create stage. This takes time.... I know you're in sunny Florida in January and the beach will be just across the causeway. If you need beach time, plan in an extra day for that. (Don't get distracted). A great goal would be to lock in 3-4 plant vendors that carry a wide variety of material along with a plan of LTL (Less than truckload) transportation. All the foliage LTL trucklines will be at the show as well. When comparing LTL Trucklines be sure to consider these three points. 1.Overall price per cube rate for the quantity of material you expect to ship 2.The fuel surcharge average to be added. 3.fees for extra pickups beyond the first stop. I've always felt it's good business planning to have foliage plant vendors geographically spread out through the state. Purchasing from vendors that are located in different parts of Florida reduces the liability of natural disaster affecting availability of your plant material. Certainly a hurricane can't knock out both coasts, south Florida, and central Florida all at once.

This is an international show drawing attendees from Europe, Caribbean Islands, Central and South America, Australia, India ect. Leave your inhibitions at home and expect a great atmosphere of fun and education. Come visit our company (Heart of Florida Greenhouses Inc.) at Booth #719. Our staff can help introduce you to new varieties and answer any show related questions you might have. We want your Florida foliage buying experience to be a success. All large business starts small. Let us grow with you.

A few quick links that will help get you on the way!

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