The official numbers are in, and the 2019 Farwest Show, held August 21–23 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, saw an increase in attendance over the prior year, according to figures from show producers the Oregon Association of Nurseries.
As always, Farwest brought together different sectors of the green industry, giving everyone many chances to learn, network, and enhance the growth and the stature of their businesses. More than 5,000 nursery industry professionals from 20 countries and 44 states took advantage of these opportunities. They browsed the show floor, talked to exhibitors, attended the seminars, heard the keynote by Dr. Charlie Hall, took part in networking and social events, and more.
The exhibitor count remained stable, with nearly 400 exhibitors occupying booths on the show floor. The show gave them the chance to see many old and new customers in a short period of time.
“The exhibitors I talked to were all very happy with the way the show went this year,” said show chairman Patrick Newton, owner of Powell’s Nursery in Gaston, Oregon. “They felt like the people walking the show were actual buyers. I had two different people I know tell me they picked up new customers, and they were also able to see existing customers. It was all super positive.”
Turnout was packed at the show’s Happy Hour on Day One, which was held in the Convention Center lobby. The annual Farwest Pub Crawl, which visited three Eastside pubs, all within walking distance of the Convention Center, had its best turnout ever. The Emergent Networking Event (for everyone, but focused on those under 40) and the Women in Horticulture event were also well attended.
Seminars had strong presenters and relevant topics, addressing such matters as the economy, nursery marketing, retail merchandising, Lean production, pest management, best plant and tree selections, the science of color, mentoring, business strategies, irrigation management and many more.
But for Newton, a nurseryman and exhibitor, it was all about seeing as many old and new customers as possible.
“I think it’s probably one of the best shows I’ve ever had,” he said. “It was busy the whole time. I had people circling the booth waiting to talk to me. It was all good positive stuff. For me it was awesome.”
He is hopeful that the show’s strong performance will continue. The value of the show comes from who is exhibiting and who is in attendance. He is already looking forward to the 2020 edition of Farwest, which will be held next August 26–28, again at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland.
“If new customers are coming to the show, then it gives us all a reason to be there,” he said. “And if more exhibitors come, then even more buyers will show up.”