Design programs, business sessions, and in-person networking were just a few of the offerings the 334 attendees experienced at this year's Great Lakes Floral & Event Expo (GLFEE) held at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and DeVos Place Convention Center in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Attendees left Inspired with new product ideas from the trade show vendors, new design ideas from the design contest and main stage shows, and new business strategies shared by our industry experts!
Friday night featured great live music and fellowship at the opening Mix and Mingle. “It was a great place to kick off the weekend and meet new people,” said Kathy Honey-Murphy owner of Wordy Bird greeting cards in Brooklyn Center, MN.
As usual, one of the highlights of the event was the “Live” Designer of the Year contest sponsored by FloraCraft and FloristWare. This year's winner was Jeremy Rettger AIFD, Segelins Florist, Cleveland, Ohio, who won $300 and will have his designs featured in The Professional Florist magazine. Jeremy also received the Chuck Bannow “Best of Show” for his first place entry in the Professional division.
Robbin Yelverton AAF, AIFD, CF, PFCI, Blumz by JRDesigns, Ferndale/Holly, Michigan, took the top prize in the Academy division. He will receive $300, the winner's plaque and his name inscribed on the traveling honorary award. His designs will also be featured in The Professional Florist magazine.
Industry awards presented at the Cosmic Universe awards banquet included:
Lifetime Achievement - David Loweke, Moehring Woods Flowers, Grosse Points Woods, Michigan
National Service - Jackie Lacey AAF, AIFD, CFD, PFCI, Floriology powered by BloomNet, Jacksonville, Florida
Retail Employee of the Year - Michelle Runyon AIFD, Banner Flower House, Kokomo, Indiana
Retailer of the Year - The Flower Market / Jackie Poe, Greenwood, Indiana
Supplier Employee of the Year - Irving Casiano, Flower Shop Network, Paragould, Arkansas
Wholesaler of the Year - Denver Wholesale Florist (DWF), Flint, Michigan
Young Person of the Year - Holly Haveman CF, Kennedy’s Flowers & Gifts, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Certified Florist (CF) Member of the Year - Jerome Raska AAF, AIFD, CF, PFCI, Blumz by JRDesigns, Ferndale/Holly, Michigan
GLFA Past Presidents Award sponsored by Floriology powered by BloomNet - Tracey Groom CF, Genesee Career Institute, Flint, Michigan
There was something for everyone in the trade show, many design sessions, business sessions and hands-on workshops. The main stage design shows featured a series of top designers covering topics from bridal to sympathy to wearable floral fashion. Business sessions taught attendees about profit, technology, and staffing. Hands-on workshops were packed with how to ideas and the latest products from trade fair vendors who showed their many products and services during the three-day expo.
“It was so wonderful to have our floral family back together in person,” said GLFA President and 2022 GLFEE Chair Teresa Cytlak of Ridgeway Floral & Gift in Three Rivers, Michigan. “I would personally like to invite you to attend “A Whole New World” the 2023 GLFEE. The 2023 Great Lakes Floral and Event Expo will be held March 3-5 at the Amway Grand Plaza and Devos Place, Grand Rapids, Michigan, details at www.glfee.com.
Great Lakes Floral Association