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United Fresh Launches Floral Membership Category

United Fresh Produce Association, produce managers

The United Fresh board of directors voted at its meeting last month to create a new floral membership category in 2015 to enhance services to members throughout the floral supply chain. In addition, United Fresh will appoint a new Floral Advisory Board of suppliers and retailers to lead the effort.

“Our new partnership with the International Floriculture Exposition (IFE) at our show in Chicago really jumpstarts the level of value that we can provide for our members in the floral sector,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “IFE is already serving the majority of our retail members who offer both produce and floral in their stores. Now, we will be able to provide a deeper level of value to these retail members, as well as work more closely with the more than 200 floral suppliers who are exhibitors in the IFE show.”

Added United Fresh Chairman Ron Carkoski of Four Seasons Family of Cos., “As the board considered the potential benefits of deeper engagement with floral suppliers and buyers, it became very clear that there is significant synergy between the produce and floral supply chains, and many shared needs. Floral suppliers and retailers will benefit from our work on supply chain logistics, labor and immigration reform, marketing and merchandising, global trade policy and more.”

The IFE show is managed by Diversified Communications, a private show management company. In developing plans with Diversified to build the co-located IFE and United Fresh shows, both parties agreed that year-round association support services to the floral sector would be an added value of the partnership. United Fresh and Diversified will work closely with volunteer leaders within the association and the IFE advisory board, supporting a year-round platform of services to the floral sector that culminates in the annual celebration in June at the largest business and networking event serving the floral sector.

Floral membership for 2015 will be priced at $495 for floral suppliers selling less than $1 million in floral products to retailers, and $695 for suppliers selling more than $1 million. Most retailers will already fall within United’s overall retail customer membership category, as they handle both produce and floral. New “floral-only” retailers who do not handle produce will pay a flat rate of $295. All floral members will receive discounts for all United Fresh events, services and publications.

“We’re also pleased to extend a complimentary first-year 2015 membership to all current IFE exhibitors,” Stenzel said. “These exhibitors who are the core supporters of the IFE show will be invited to sign up for an introductory year of United Fresh membership, helping them engage with customers throughout the year while they also prepare for the IFE show.”

In order to deliver strong value to this floral constituency, the new Floral Advisory Board will consider a variety of potential projects, including research and benchmarking reports, white papers on key issues from international trade to merchandising trends, retail and supply chain tours and more. The new Floral Advisory Board will be appointed later this fall and hold its first meeting at United’s winter leadership meetings in January, together with all other United volunteer leadership groups.

Members who are interested in serving on the initial Floral Advisory Board are invited to contact Miriam Wolk at [email protected].

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