The 2022 Garden Center Conference & Expo welcomed hundreds of IGC owners, managers and industry professionals to Orlando, Florida, Aug. 1-3 to learn, grow and problem-solve. For two and a half days, attendees learned from some of the best and brightest in the garden center industry about pressing issues like the potentials of e-commerce, the changing retail landscape and succession planning.
“I have learned a lot about my own industry in ways I never thought of before,” said Regan Glover, head of media and marketing at Glover Nursery. “There is so much information to be gleaned and not just from the presenters and the sponsors, but from interacting with people who are doing the same thing you’re doing. I’ve learned a ton just by conversations over dinner and coffee, so it’s really helpful.”
Throughout the conference, the 12,000-square-foot exhibit hall welcomed visitors, featuring some of the latest products and services. Exhibitors were on hand to answer questions, talk shop and introduce new solutions.
“What we’ve found is that it is a really great way to connect with independent garden centers and we’ve had great traffic and conversations with garden centers that are coming through,” said Jessica DeGraaf, director of retail accounts at Proven Winners. “But more than that, it’s the education and the opportunity to network and to learn about what’s happening in the industry.”
The dual education track gave garden center professionals the chance to hear from industry experts on both the ownership and management levels. Attendees took home ideas to implement at their operations right away and inspiration to improve in the future.
“Everything is changing so quickly now post-pandemic in the business community, our industry,” said Marce Ward, president and CEO of Calloway’s Nursery in Texas. “You need to be at this show so you can stay on trend and have the latest information.”
From making new friends to finding new ideas to discovering new ways to think about their businesses, attendees went home ready to make their businesses the best they can be.
“You’ve got to come!” said AJ Petitti, president of Petitti Garden Centers in Ohio. “I’ve talked to a lot of great people in the industry, I mean some really big minds, and everybody’s had really positive feedback. At least come once. It’s definitely worth the trip, for a couple days to really learn a lot. It’s worth it.”