The impact of Hurricane Irma is already being felt in Florida and throughout the floral industry. Yesterday afternoon, the Society of American Florists (SAF) announced the cancellation of its annual convention in Palm Beach, Florida.
It was to be the 133rd such convention.
It was also going to be the 50th Sylvia Cup, an event sponsored by Certified American Grown and featuring flowers from a number of our farms throughout the country.
The 133rd convention was to be the last convention for retiring SAF CEO Peter Moran. Peter had been with SAF 33 of those 133 years. I know many of us who have worked with Peter over the years were looking forward to thanking him in person for his commitment and loyalty to the floral industry. As long as I’ve worked in my position in California, I could always count on Peter’s style of steady leadership. Peter worked hard to keep a very fragmented industry organized and the association relevant to its stakeholders. No easy task for one year, let alone 33.
I know for the SAF staff the decision to cancel this year’s convention wasn’t easy. A year of planning, hundreds of hours in staff time spent, thousands and thousands of flowers sent to the hotel, scores of volunteers and hundreds of attendees’ travel plans all dashed.
However, with Irma representing “one of the strongest storms recorded in the Atlantic,” it was the right call to keep everyone safe and out of harms way.