Natural Foods Merchandiser

The people behind Expo East

Building a healthy show floor
For the past year, the New Hope Natural Media Expo sales team has been calling on thousands upon thousands of companies, to bring together a dream lineup of exhibitors in the organic, food, health and beauty, supplements, natural living and pet products categories for buyers to peruse. This month, that magic mix comes to life on Expo East’s show floor.

Patrick Smith, national sales manager for Natural Products Expo East, says his focus is to bring the most sound and innovative manufacturers to the show. At the root of his dedication? The drive to seek out companies with the high-quality products that he would feel comfortable giving his family. With his wife Heather—who is, incidentally, the social-media expert featured in Thursday’s session Tweet Smarts: Strategize Social Media (1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., room 252A)—and two sons to consider, Smith takes a personal approach to the companies and products his team pursues.

“When I find something great like healthy to-go kids’ products, I want to help the company find buyers so that my kids and others have nutritious, simple options instead of getting the traditional junk food all the time. It’s great to be in a position to help a client’s business by helping put healthy products with positive values into the world,” Smith says.

Creating connections and community
Erica Stone’s wheels are always turning. As the show manager for Expo East, Stone is responsible for planning the mix of exhibits, events and education in Boston, and she is always brainstorming the best ways to connect people, companies, countries and causes.

In response to last year’s feedback, Stone’s focus in 2009 is on giving the Expo East community a centralized place to connect. The Community Celebration (5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Level 1, North Lobby) will give attendees a chance to enjoy some networking time off the show floor.

Under Stone’s direction, last year’s successful partnership with Farm Aid will continue with A New England Dinner (7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Seaport Hotel), featuring locally sourced food and benefiting family farmers. New this year, New Hope is also partnering with Vitamin Angels, an organization with a mission to reduce child mortality by bringing vital nutrients to infants and children under age 5. The 4th annual Celebration of Angels (6 p.m., Grand Ballroom) joins the Expo East schedule of events—a perfect pairing for this nutrient-rich industry.

“Every time that people connect and support causes that align with the heart of the natural products industry at Expo East, it is a success not just for one business or cause, but for the future of the industry and community as a whole,” Stone says.

–Jessica Matzuk

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.