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SNA 2014 Sets the Stage for Positive Growth

30 Jul 2014 5:48 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

Atlanta, Ga., July 30, 2014 –SNA 2014, held July 22 - 24 at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta, Ga., saw positive energy and encouraging signs of growth further demonstrating the resilience of the Southern Nursery Association (SNA), a 115 yr. old professional trade organization representing the horticulture industry in the Southeastern U.S, and the industry in general. For the second year, this regional event proved to be another success based on comments echoed by both exhibitors and attendees. The mood was remarkably upbeat as industry professionals from all sectors of the industry, including breeders, growers, manufacturers, landscapers, retailers, service providers, research and education, gathered for the three-day event.

The event kicked off on Tuesday, July 22 with The 13th Southern Plant Conference that drew a crowd of nearly 200 passionate plant enthusiasts very excited to see and hear the 15 plant experts that featured an impressive list of authors, botanical garden directors, professors, researchers, and world travelers – all with the goal of expanding knowledge and use of new and improved plants for the landscape. Michael Steinhardt, coined Wall Street’s Greatest Trader whose country estate houses one of the world’s largest private zoos and gardens was the special guest speaker. The conference, sponsored by HIP Labels, Inc., and Plant Development Services, Inc. (PDSI), provides the perfect platform for the grower, landscaper and retailer to come together for a glimpse at exciting new plants coming to market.

The 59th Annual SNA Research Conference, sponsored by GreenForest Nursery, was held on Tuesday, July 22 and Wednesday, July 23, and saw strong participation from horticultural researchers presenting the latest in research. The conference is the country’s longest running woody ornamental research conference, and provides a forum for horticultural researchers to communicate relevant and recent research findings to the industry. A total of 140 top horticultural research and educational leaders from across the country participated in this year’s conference. Sixty titles were submitted for inclusion in the research proceedings publication that will be available later this fall. Dr. Sandra Reed, Atlanta, GA, was recognized by her research colleagues for her outstanding contributions to ornamental horticultural research and the SNA and presented the Porter Henegar Memorial Award during the SNA Research Conference Luncheon on Wednesday, July 23, during which time nine students received cash awards for their presentations in the Bryson L. James Student Research Competition, and the Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Endowment Fund awarded a total $18,000 in scholarships to twelve students from across the Southeast.

More than 100 retailers participated in SNA Day @ AmericasMart Atlanta on Tuesday, July 22. This unique relationship between AmericasMart Atlanta and SNA provides an opportunity for retailers to access over 500 Open Daily Showrooms and The Gardens with an SNA Trade Show Badge to enhance their current product lines and locate new sources. AmericasMart Atlanta is the nation’s only global wholesale marketplace housing the world’s single-largest collection of home, gift, area rug and apparel merchandise.

The SNA Regional Marketplace opened on Wednesday, July 23 with a General Session featuring Steinhardt on the Economy. While Steinhardt was talking plants at The Southern Plant Conference it was the perfect opportunity to get his insight on the economy and how businesses should position themselves moving forward. The casual interview, hosted by Carol Miller, Group Editor, Meister Media Worldwide and Today’s Garden Center, gave the audience a chance to talk with Mr. Steinhardt up close and personal while he revealed how much he values our industry’s undervalued products. Audience members asked about his view on a wide variety of economic topics, from the stability of the stock market to political gridlock in Washington. He surprised many when he stated his strong viewpoint that the economy is not only healthier than it’s popularly perceived to be, but it will continue to be so in the future.

SNA 2014 attracted an impressive list of exhibitors and key decision-making buyers, and serious business was conducted during the two-day marketplace. Many exhibitors reported strong interest in their products and writing large orders before noon on the first day of the show. There were numerous new products to see and get excited about. One such product that created a lot of buzz and had people talking was the new SNA Mobile App, developed by Sunrise Marketing using their epunched mobile app coupled with Apple’s new iBeacon™. This cutting-edge technology allowed the SNA Mobile App to interact with beacons to deliver contextual marketing messages, videos, instant coupons and more. For downloading the new SNA Mobile App attendees were rewarded with a free beverage, for checking in at five sponsor booths they could claim a voucher toward lunch and for checking in at all 10 sponsor booths their name was placed in a drawing to win an iPad. SNA 2014 sponsors participating in the program benefited from enhanced visibility on the show floor as well as the opportunity to get a first-hand look at how the epunched system and iBeacon™ technology can work to engage and reward their customers.

The SNA Stage, located on the show floor, featured action-packed sessions presented by leading industry experts providing attendees a chance to see the most innovative new products, get a better perspective on the state of the economy, and gain new insight on factors impacting their business. Kurt Fromherz, Sunrise Marketing, Hartford, CT, presented his epunched system and Apple’s new iBeacon™ technology. Although designed with retail garden centers in mind, the technology has found diverse applications within the region. Brad Kaiser, Harvest Automation, Billerica, MA, rolled out their first practical, scalable robots for a range of agricultural applications. These robots will enable growers to create a sustainable workforce of robots working safely alongside people to increase efficiency, reliability and plant quality. Other topics on the SNA Stage featured David Ellis, Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, Projected Housing Growth, and Michael Geary, AmericanHort, on the latest from Capitol Hill.

Sid Raisch, The Garden Center Group, who lead the search for the most unique and innovative products displayed at the show with potential to be best sellers in the garden center, presented eleven Retailers’ Choice Awards™ on the SNA Stage as follows:

A.M. Leonard, Piqua, OH – Stainless Steel Soil Knife

Avant, Elk Grove Village, IL – Avant Articulated Telescoping Multi-Function Loader

First Editions (Bailey Nurseries), St. Paul, MN – Crimson Fire Fringe Flower

Sunrise Marketing, Hartford, CT – ePunch Mobile App with iBeacon

Liquid Fence (United Industries), Blakslee, PA – EcoLogic Weed & Grass Killer

Good Ideas, Lake City, PA – Impressions Rain Barrel Planter

Marlboro Bulb Company, Greenwood, SC – Jack’s Giant Elephant Ear

Plant Development Services, Inc. (PDSI), Loxley, AL – Lemon Lime Nandina
Jackson Nursery, Belvidere, TN – Garden Debut Magic Fountain Weeping Persimmon

Star Roses (Hackney Nursery Company) Greensboro, FL  Sapphire Indigo Groundcover Clematis

Zanfel, Clive, IA – Zanfel Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Wash

In addition to the Retailers’ Choice Awards™ Bracy’s Nursery, Amite, LA, received Best in Show/Green Goods Award and Super Lawn Trucks, Fort Valley, GA, received Best in Show/Allied Products Award.

The SNA 2014 Educational Sessions, presented by Today’s Garden Center (TGC) and the Georgia Green Industry Association (GGIA) were stocked full of takeaways and proven strategies to benefit growers, landscapers and retailers. Retails sessions included Carol Miller, Editor, Today’s Garden Center, in a 2-Part session, What Consumers Think About Gardening and Your Store [The 10% Project] and 4 Marketing Campaigns You Can Use to Recruit New Customers [The 10% Project], and Kathryn Dager, Profitivity, Inc., Turn Your Team Into a Selling Machine. Landscape sessions featured Dr. Helen Kraus, Rain Gardens to the Rescue!, and Tony Bass, Super Lawn Technologies, Growing from $100,000 to $1,000,000.

Officers of the Southern Nursery Association who will serve for the 2014 – 2015 year were elected during the 115th SNA Annual Business Meeting on Thursday, July 24. The complete slate of officers is as follows:

Richard May, President, May Nursery, Havana, FL

Michael Hobbs, Vice Pres./Treas./Director Chapter 3, Warren County Nursery, McMinnville, TN

Dusty Knight, Director Chapter 4, Plantation Tree Company, Selma, AL

Joseph Napoli, Director Chapter 2, Athens Wholesale Nursery, Athens, GA

Norman Cole, III, Director Chapter 1, Cole Nurseries, Pipestem, WV

Jeff Howell, Immediate Past President, Rocky Creek Nursery, Lucedale, MS

Sponsors of SNA 2014 included Today’s Garden Center, Georgia Green Industry Association, Empire Turf, Classic Groundcovers, Hackney Nursery Company, Haviland Plastic Products, Martin’s Nursery, Nursery Supplies, R.A. Dudley Nurseries, Plant Development Services, HIP Labels, GreenForest Nursery, Bennett’s Creek Nursery, and Lancaster Farms.

“The importance of this event to the horticulture industry in the Southeast cannot be overestimated,” said Karen Summers, SNA Executive Vice President. “The SNA Regional Marketplace is not just a trade show but a regional ‘event’ that provides the perfect platform to connect the industry across the Southeast. The fusion of The Southern Plant Conference, the SNA Research Conference, and the regional marketplace is a very positive mix that draws the brightest minds in horticulture together creating a dynamic synergy resulting in a unique hybrid event. Everything is new at SNA… new plants, new products, new techniques, new technology, new trends – the potential is quite enormous,” she added.

SNA 2015 is scheduled for July 21 - 23 at the Georgia International Convention Center, Atlanta, GA. The Southern Plant Conference will be held on Tuesday, July 21, 2015. The SNA Research Conference will be held on Tuesday, July 21 and Wednesday, July 22, 2015. The SNA Marketplace will be held on Wednesday, July 22 and Thursday, July 23. More details of SNA 2015 will be released in the coming weeks.

The SNA Regional Marketplace is the ultimate platform for networking, learning, launching new products, and cultivating new business relationships. The event is produced by the Southern Nursery Association, a non-profit trade association, and proceeds are invested in the horticulture industry.

Founded in 1899, the Southern Nursery Association represents the horticulture industry in the Southeastern U.S. SNA provides member services to wholesale growers, brokers, retailers, landscape contractors, landscape architects, grounds maintenance contractors, interiorscapers and allied suppliers. The SNA strives to unite and advance the horticulture industry through educational, research and marketing efforts.

For more information on SNA, contact the Southern Nursery Association, Inc., PO Box 801454, Acworth, GA 30101, 678.809.9992,, or visit the SNA website at


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