OFA to Expand Retail Offerings at 2014 Short Course
OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals has announced it plans to significantly expand its signature event, OFA Short Course, in 2014.
OFA Short Course is ranked as one of the largest events in North America among all industry and consumer trade shows and it will grow next year by adding a 50,000 square-foot exhibit hall to host more companies that sell products and services to garden retailers. Additional educational and networking opportunities will also be offered to serve the increasing attendance.
The dates for 2014 OFA Short Course are July 12-15, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.
“For years, OFA Short Course has been a preferred destination for independent garden retailers, florists, growers, and installers. Our 7-acre trade show sells out every year, and it already includes numerous companies that provide products and services to retailers,” said Sherry Johnson, OFA’s trade show manager. “There is great demand for us to offer more exhibitors and activities for retailers and others.
Improving business management skills and networking with peers is very important, says Kate Terrell of Wallace’s Garden Center in Bettendorf, Iowa. “It’s important that retailers and growers – the entire industry supply chain, in fact – be together under one roof. We can learn from each other and do business. Why segregate ourselves into separate events?”
“Some of the best education for retailers is offered by OFA and ANLA, and we will offer more beginning in 2014 with the consolidation of the organizations and the expansion of the convention next July,” said Terrell, who serves as chair of OFA’s Garden Center Committee.
Michael Geary, OFA’s and ANLA’s chief executive said, “When ANLA and OFA combine, our new organization will become the world’s largest trade association of independent garden retailers. The premier event needs to reflect the make-up of our membership and the industry, and offer one-stop buying and selling for goods and services.” The OFA Short Course currently includes exhibitors that provide hard goods, plants, and business services for growers, retailers, and installers, and comprehensive education on business management, marketing, and greenhouse and nursery production.
“The reality is that for most retailers, plants can make up as much as 80 percent of annual sales. At Short Course, attendees can see new varieties and other plants that consumers want to buy. But it’s not plants alone that retailers sell, so we also offer a wide assortment of hard goods and services to round out their inventory. In 2014, this product category will expand with the addition of another exhibit hall,” said Geary. “Retailers will get everything they need at this event along with our year-long support.”
ANLA and OFA are preparing to consolidate into one new trade association by 2014. OFA Short Course will reflect this change by also increasing the number of companies that supply the nursery and landscape markets.
Sales for the new exhibit hall are scheduled to begin late summer. More information is available at www.ofa.org/retail.