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An ode to tradeshows

PMA Fresh Summit 2018 Orlando
The International Fresh Produce Association returns to Orlando in October with its first Global Fresh Produce & Floral Show.

After a two-year hiatus, trade shows are back.

Attending a show is akin to going to your high school reunion—you see people you haven’t seen for a long while. It’s a chance to get caught up on the latest gossip, facts, and new industry presentations.

I like attending industry trade shows. Each one has its own unique vibe and color.


There’s always a great sense of anticipation prior to a trade show floor opening. Attendees cannot wait to mingle on the show floor and sample the unique gifts, food, or drinks found at the various booths. It’s a major happening.

People walking the floor are in a festive mood and very happy to be back in the swing of things. Those with the responsibility for hawking their wares or services cannot wait to show off the newest offerings and try to get a sale.

The whole experience is fun.

I value the shows because over my 42-year career, I’ve made many friends and trade shows are my primary way of getting together with them.

In many cases, I know something about their families (used to be their children, now it’s their grandchildren), golf scores, and future plans.

Have trade shows changed? For sure, and in some cases for the better.

Shows are run more efficiently, speakers aren’t talking as long, and parties are a little earlier in the evening. All good things as one gets older.

At the conclusion of the show, there’s sometimes a banquet, complete with music and entertainment.

The various speakers always express thanks to all who attended, to their respective association staffs, and that working in the produce industry is a privilege.

I wish to echo the latter comment—that working in the industry is a privilege. It’s also an honor.

Few people can say they help feed a needy world by providing good looking, good for you, and tasty fruits and vegetables.

Regardless of what your role is in produce, think about how lucky you are to do what you do. Not that every day is perfect, but each day is memorable.

Not that all your sales calls are answered or returned, but when you get that yes, after all the no’s, your day is a success.

Lucky, fortunate, call it what you will, but call it fun most of all. Seek the good. You will be richly rewarded.

This is the CEO’s Perspective column from the July/August 2022 issue of Produce Blueprints Magazine. Click here to read the whole issue. 


Jim Carr is the President and CEO of Blue Book Services Inc.