A record number of attendees made their way to Columbus, OH, this past July for Cultivate’17. According to AmericanHort, 10,016 attendees from 34 countries and across all industry segments attended the event at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Cultivate’17 was the first event to use the entirety of the newly renovated Convention Center space, which included the addition of 30,000 square feet to the trade show floor. Nearly 700 exhibitors showcased products and services and utilized the increased trade show space to its full advantage.
“We enjoyed strong performance and growth at Cultivate’17 by just about every measure,” says Ken Fisher, President and CEO of AmericanHort. “Exhibit space and exhibitors were up nearly 12% and overall attendance by about 5%. We had great feedback on the refreshed event layout, education, tours, keynotes, and receptions. The AmericanHort team is already hard at work preparing for Cultivate’18 and all great things to come from AmericanHort.”
Highlights from the annual industry event included the opening keynote by Jon Gordon, renowned author and business expert. Gordon spoke on the power of positivity in work and life and how positive attitudes can transform a business for the better.
Fisher, Senior Vice President Craig Regelbrugge, and Chief Economist Charlie Hall, PhD, presented a State of the Industry address, as well. The address detailed both current and upcoming business, legislative, and economic challenges for industry businesses, as well as outlined strategies to address challenges and to promote collective industry growth.
Cultivate’17 also debuted CareerUP, a first-of-its-kind event that welcomed nearly 150 young professionals for a day of communication skill development, stories from industry trailblazers, and discussions on thriving as a young professional in the industry. Stephanie Whitehouse from Dickman Farms and AmericanHort GenNext Community Coordinator emceed the event, while Nancy Fisher (The Ohio State University) led a morning workshop on high-stakes communication. Bridget Behe, PhD (Michigan State University), Kelly Norris (Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden), Steve Black (Raemelton Farm), and Tyler Baras (Hort Americas), all shared their experiences and best advice for cultivating a meaningful horticulture career.
Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence was again an excellent showcase of the industry’s finest in growing and plant breeding. In addition, AmericanHort along with the Garden Center Group presented 16 Retailers’ Choice Awards for retailers’ favorite products and plants from the show floor.
AmericanHort hosted several industry groups and welcomed them to Cultivate, including the National Interiorscape Network, Garden Writers Association, California Associations of Nurseries and Garden Centers, America in Bloom, and Green Plants for Green Buildings.
“The new and refreshed atmosphere of Cultivate’17 was felt by everyone,” says Tom Demaline, AmericanHort Chairman of the Board and president of Willoway Nurseries. “There seemed to be more conversations happening on the trade show floor, more discussions about industry trends and events, and just all around more energy. The AmericanHort team certainly addressed the needs of the industry for an all-encompassing event and then some.”
Cultivate’18 will be held July 14-17, 2018, in Columbus, OH.