March 2017 Show Re-Cap

As many of you may be aware, we had Neville MacKay CAFA PFCI at our facility on March 29th for a Spring Show that was focused on weddings. We have had Neville as our featured designer two times previous, once was a funeral show done in July of 2013, and the other time was a Fall & Christmas Design Show in October of 2014. So it’s been a good three years since we had the highly entertaining and highly skilled Neville here.



The show started at 7:00 PM and Neville injected his unique brand of funny into pretty much everything he did. He told about 10 jokes in a given 5 minute period, and even if you got only five of the ten jokes, you were still laughing uproariously 5 times. He also wowed our attendees with some really creative ways to use some of the flowers. Two things he did stood out for me. He hung amaryllis upside down, poured water into the stem and used the stem as a vase for another flower. That trick was pure genius. He also made topiary forms out of a few bunches of tree fern. And those things he cut them back with scissors to shape them as if he was a barber giving a teenager a crew cut. Many in the audience told us that these two ideas they got made their trip to our show that evening worth their while.


Sample of one of the tree fern topiaries



 Our attendance at the show was 154 people, which is a really fantastic number for us. Our previous show in Oct of 2016 was 148 people, and our 2016 Spring show had 121 people. So Neville’s show beat out ones from J. Schwanke and Kevin Ylvisaker. That’s pretty heady company!

We were pleased to award an Amazon Echo (Personal Assistant) to two different florists as part of our major giveaway for the evening. Flowers and Bridal Boutique, and Rose Petal Floral Design, both based coincidently in the Bronx were the big winners.




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We were so proud of our whole staff that worked hard for weeks getting ready for this show. Many of you may not realize what goes into getting ready. There’s massive amounts of phone calls to customers to promote the show. There is a lot of floor work by the stockers to get the supply department whipped into good looking shape. There is an AIFD designer hired a month previous (Bill Taylor) to spend a few days in our showroom setting up displays so you can see how some products can be used together in groupings. There is agonizing and handwringing about how much food to order, for we don’t want to have too little or too much left over (as it turned out our food estimating team hit it right on the button!). People cleaning floors, people testing sound systems, people setting up cut flower displays to wow the attendees, people checking in attendees when they arrive, people walking designs thru the crowd ala Vanna White.. A hearty thank you to our entire staff.


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Our growers were nice enough to send us samples to have on display


As many of you know, one of our show traditions is to auction off the live designs at the conclusion of the show.   Neville is an auctioneer in Canada for some charity events he is attached to, so it was a natural to have him bring his impressive brand of auctioneer babble to our event. As I was standing on stage with him watching the bidders make bids, they all seemed to be having a lot of fun, and everyone was smiling. It was a great end to the evening.

We usually hand out a list of the vendors at our show. People visit the vendor booths, get the vendor to initial this document, and then the papers are handed in to Hillcrest staff, and there is a drawing for free supply product. This March show, we were late in getting those vendor lists out to the attendees, and our guess is we missed a few people. So when it was time to do that drawing near the end of the evening, there were a few customers that were very annoyed with us. If you were one of those people that we missed getting a vendor list to, call me at 800-437-7000 and we can make some accommodation for you. Sorry about that. We are human, and sometimes mistakes happen.

Lastly, we want to thank Smithers-Oasis for sponsoring Neville MacKay. Smithers has a wonderful line of wedding and floral products. They really stepped up to the plate, and it was wonderful that they were willing to help underwrite this design show. I hope you can reward them in kind by asking for Smithers products when you place orders with our supply sales reps.