The IGC Chicago Show wrapped up its 10-year anniversary celebration at Chicago’s Navy Pier last week. According to Jeff Morey, Founder and CEO of the IGC Show, independent garden center owners, managers, and buyers left feeling “inspired with best practices to put to work at their stores and excited to bring the host of new products they found on the trade show floor to their customers in the months ahead.”
New product and show specials drew order-writing buyers to the festival hall with the most first-time attendees since the event’s launch in 2007.
Mike Zaffaroni, Owner of Liberty Landscape Supply in Fernandina Beach, FL, told show floor staffers, “I’m from Florida, and I attend some of the regional industry trade shows. I’ve seen the IGC Show ads in industry publications, and decided I really needed to attend this year. I’m so glad I did.”
Christine McMeekin, Vice President of Quality Gardens in Valencia, PA, said, “I decided to come for the first time this year because of the educational sessions — I really needed inspiration, and I sure got it here.”
Overall attendance at the show was brisk, and many exhibitors are reporting record sales from orders written at their booths, Morey says.
“This is our 10th year of attending the IGC Show ” said John Loyet, Owner/Buyer, Greenscape Gardens in Ballwin, MO. “We find many new products and ideas for our store.”
Melissa Barr, Owner of Barr Evergreens in Crumpler, NC, said, “The IGC Show is a shopper’s paradise. We always buy product for our retail Christmas tree and pumpkin lots while we’re here.”
Networking and fun were the focus at Tuesday evening’s birthday bash and concert, as REO Speedwagon brought the house down with their live performance. Confetti brought the party to a rousing close, raining down on a record crowd of more than 1,200 concert-goers.
“The best part for me was when the lead singer, Kevin Cronin, told the audience that independent garden centers are what help make America great,” says Jeff Morey, Founder and CEO of the IGC Show. “The band flew in from Tampa, where they performed the night before, largely because they believe in the power and importance of independent retailers. They really get it, and it made the night that much more special for everyone.”
The audience for the interactive morning keynotes from Mike Ditka and Amanda Thomsen packed the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier to near capacity. After her keynote that used humor to kick independent garden center into high gear to reach younger customers, Thomsen signed copies of her book and spent the next days touring the show floor.
IGC Show will return to Chicago’s Navy Pier with an all-new lineup of presenters and special plans in store August 15-17, 2017. More details will be announced soon.