Last week, Jet Fresh Flower Distributors joined over 470 floral industry professionals in Phoenix Arizona for the highly anticipated Society of American Florist (SAF) Convention. The 4-day event included several competitions, great panel discussions, a supplier expo and tons of networking sessions. Here are some highlights from the convention.
Outstanding Varieties Competition
One of the convention’s show-stopping moments was the Outstanding Varieties Competition, featuring an impressive lineup of over 240 entries. Jet Fresh team member, Mimi Pacheco, volunteered in the setup of the room for the Outstanding Varieties Competition. Mimi has been volunteering for over 5 years in memory of her friend, Gay Smith. Jet Fresh Flower Growers made their mark, earning not one but two prestigious ribbons. Our pristine white Candlelight rose took home a red ribbon, while the captivating bi-color Funky Cold Medina (Grandiose) rose was awarded the coveted blue ribbon. These accolades were a testament to the exceptional quality being cultivated at the Jet Fresh Flower Growers farm in Cotopaxi, Ecuador. ‘Amistad’, a light pink double Oriental lily presented by our friends from Sun Valley Floral Farms, won best in Show.
Growth & Inspiration
Beyond the competition, the SAF Convention offered 4 days filled with educational sessions, thought-provoking speakers, and ample opportunities for networking and making valuable connections. Attendees had the chance to deepen their understanding of the floral industry, learning about the latest trends from Talmage McLaurin, AIFD,PFCI, Ai innovations, and how to make a blueprint for family Succession with Stacie Lee Banks, AAF, Ian Prosser, Zoe Gallina, Brian J Wheat, AAF, PFCI and Lori Wheat, AAF. Our Flower Roombas made a comeback at the supplier expo along with RosaFlora Yellow Bucket Club beer pong. The room was filled with over 40 suppliers and included many of our Jet Fresh partners.
Friday morning, documentary filmmaker Brett Culp shared inspiring stories that helped the audience unleash their inner superheroes.
The grand finale of the convention was the Stars of the Industry Awards Recognition, where the best and brightest in the floral business were recognized for their outstanding contributions. The inaugural Next Gen Rising Star Award, which recognizes an individual profession 45 or under for their professional achievements and commitment to the industry, was given to Nicole Palazzo, AAF.
Among the honorees was Jet Fresh’s very own leader, Mike Black, who received the prestigious Paul Ecke Jr. Award. This prestigious accolade serves as a tribute to individuals who demonstrate unwavering dedication to professionalism in business, the industry, and their communities. Mike’s achievement underscores his commitment to excellence and his positive impact on both the floral world and the wider community.
Mike was genuinely surprised and deeply moved by the honor bestowed upon him. As he ascended the stage to accept the award, he was greeted with a flood of warm hugs and heartfelt congratulations from his fellow floral colleagues and supporters. It was evident to everyone in the audience and among the convention attendees that the Paul Ecke Jr. Award was a perfect and well-deserved recognition for Michael Black, an unquestionable leader in the floral industry.