We just wrapped up our very first Greenhouse Xchange event, held Oct. 15-17 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. The concept for this event is something completely new for our industry. Twenty leading growers spent two days having a series of strategic, one-on-one meetings with vendors of their choice in complete privacy. Fourteen vendors participated in this inaugural event, including flower breeders, structures manufacturers, as well as container, growing media and crop protection companies. Two additional areas of interest were alternative fuels and transportation solutions.
In addition to the private meetings, all of the nearly 60 attendees had the value of networking together during meals and receptions at this intimate event. But the focus was completely on business and productivity–no distractions like golf. While the growers realized they could have each vendor visit their operation separately, they really valued the quality of the uninterrupted time away from their businesses and the efficiencies of conducting up to 12 meetings over the course of two days in a relaxing environment.
“It was just refreshing,” says Randy Tagawa of Tagawa Greenhouses in Brighton, Colo. “We had the time to think and concentrate on the business at hand. It gets down to knowing your suppliers on a different level to strategically look at how we do business in the future. I would highly recommend it.”
Norm White of White’s Nursery & Greenhouses in Chesapeake, Va., really liked the closeness of the group. “We all eat and sleep the industry,” he says. “There’s no question in my mind — you will gain knowledge or come back with a new perspective on the industry.”
Gary Vollmer of Smith Gardens in Bellingham, Wash., has already followed through on business plans with at least four of the vendors he met with. “It’s the most novel approach to doing business I’ve ever participated in,” he says. “We appreciate your boldness in bringing it to us.”