After more than a year of pandemic-induced virtual trade shows, the 2022 Tropical Plant International Expo (TPIE) took place live and in person – to much fanfare and attendance.
And, after 23 years taking place in Fort Lauderdale, the international trade show was held on the west side of the Sunshine State at the Tampa Convention Center in Downtown Tampa.
"We had to perform in a new stage with increased concern due to COVID-19," TPIE Committee Chair Marcella Lucio-Chinchilla (Silver Vase) said. "Tampa proved to be a beautiful, friendly and vibrant location to host TPIE -- and exhibitors and attendees were ready to meet and they proved it by showing up!"
TPIE has gained a well-earned international reputation in the nursery and landscape industry as the ‘go-to’ event for the latest trends in tropical foliage and indoor house plants.
Nearly 6,000 attendees from across 46 U.S. states and 30 countries took to the trade show floor for this year’s show.
And, with more than 700 exhibit booth spaces this year, TPIE enjoyed a 96 percent full trade show floor, compared to pre-pandemic numbers.
The buzz this year was particularly bright and beaming as industry professionals sought to locate available plants and materials, network, make new connections, and get an inside look at what will soon be trending.
Although it wasn't business as usual (thank you, COVID, and supply chains!), nothing deterred retail, interiorscape and landscape buyers from attending this year. Among them, more than 1,200 registered retail buyers attended the three-day event.
“My biggest takeaway from TPIE was how great it was to be at a face-to-face show again and physically see the product available," TPIE Committee member Erik Friedl (Flamingo Road Nursery) said. "TPIE sets the tone for the year and makes me see everything available in a new and exciting way."
Education sessions ranged from interiorscape technician workshops, to those covering social media strategy, establishing relationships with building specifiers, and keeping one’s edge in interiorscape designs.
The TPIE Road Show included a Production Tour, which took attendees to the Apopka area the day prior to the show's opening day to visit a handful of foliage nurseries. Another tour, a Design walking tour, took attendees around the Downtown Tampa area and highlighted public art installations which included horticultural elements.
The show's Opening Session featured Duncan Wardle, former Head of Innovation and Creativity at Disney. Wardle spoke on embedding a culture of innovation into one's company. Wardle engaged the audience in several mini-activities to impart creativity-building tips to take back to their company cultures. He also encouraged the standing-room-only crowd of more than 600 to approach their work with a sense of “child-like” wonder.
Additionally, Wardle explored barriers to innovation, and offered of the creative process, “Creativity is a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it gets.”
Another highlight of the session came when Wardle encouraged the audience to ask ‘why’ several times of their target audiences to develop fitting communications campaigns. “The truth comes after the fourth or fifth ‘why,’” he told attendees.
As for other show milestones, a record number of retail buyers participated in the TPIE Cool Product Awards process this year. This resulted in the largest number of cool products ever nominated. Of the 70 nominations, 15 coveted TPIE Cool Products designations were awarded. See the 2022 TPIE Cool Product Award winners here.
TPIE’s Booth Awards program also unveiled new categories including, Inspiration at its Best, Excellent Use of Storytelling, and Stand-Out in a Crowd awards. See the winners here .
Attendees also voted on their favorite plants and products in the TPIE New Plants and Products Showcase. Winners this year included:
Another significant highlight of the show took place during the National Horticulture Foundation’s (NHF) reception where contributions totaling $28,000 were raised for industry research and student scholarships. Additionally, many of the nation’s leading interiorscape firms generated another $334,000 to create a brand-new Interior Industry Growth Fund endowment within the National Horticulture Foundation.
TPIE returns to Tampa on January 18 – 20, 2023.
For more on TPIE, visit TPIE's website.