Who says you can’t put a price on love? According to ABC News, Valentine's Day expenditures topped $18.2 billion in 2017 -- or more than $136 per person. That’s an increase from $108 per person in 2010! So, chiefly, fellas, don’t be relegated to the couch! Reach into your pocket, unfold that $136 and don’t forget your special Valentine on February 14. You are welcome!
Speaking of economics, our Tropical Plant International Expo (TPIE) was a terrific success. “Chamber of Commerce weather,” higher than even predicted attendance, superb exhibitors, top-shelf education and, I can report simply, a super success. Thank you, staff, volunteer show committee members and TPIE Chair Bisser Georgiev.
Two other critical events occurred in January which are worthy of sharing. On January 10, FNGLA Secretary/Treasurer Martin Hackney chaired a Hurricane Michael “debriefing.” Martin and his family nursery were directly impacted by Hurricane Michael. Despite his plight, Martin went above and beyond to serve as our ground-zero hurricane relief liaison to FNGLA members and surrounding communities in the Panhandle. Much was learned and will be shared with all of you and our Chapter leaders. FNGLA is currently working on a report and suggestions so we all can be prepared as an industry to respond when the next calamity touches us. Using each FNGLA Chapter’s tailor-made Hurricane Preparedness Manual, it is critical our Chapters have a plan in place to minimize post-event effects.
On January 29, FNGLA staff and state leaders enjoyed a reception with our counterparts at the Canadian Nursery & Landscape Association at the beautiful Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando. Though intended to be a fun and relaxed evening of fellowship and neighborly diplomacy (and it was), it is hard not to talk business. Canada represents a very big market for Florida-produced tropical foliage and indoor houseplants. We surely delivered our deepest gratitude for their Florida plant-purchasing!
As for February, it may be the shortest month of the year, yet it is long in critical work of the FNGLA.
On February 19 and 20, your FNGLA Board of Directors will convene in Tallahassee for its Spring meeting. The first day will be the official Board meeting, followed by an evening with our dear friends of FNGLA’s Big Bend Chapter. The following day, we will visit state legislators and key officials in the Capitol Building. Rest assured, we will promote, advocate and advise the newest office holders as to the strength and importance of the FNGLA and the industry we proudly represent. If you have any specific “asks,” or wish more information on FNGLA’s legislative priorities, be sure to let me/staff know and follow FNGLA’s weekly Ben’s Bullets email newsletter communication which is an exclusive FNGLA-member service.
Stay warm and for those of you who can, enjoy a light respite. And, above all, DON’T FORGET ABOUT VALENTINE’S DAY!
From Sir Edmund Spencer’s epic poem, Faerie Queene (1590), “She bath’d with roses red, and violets blew, And the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.”