Natural Foods Merchandiser
9 top tips for attending Expo West 2013

9 top tips for attending Expo West 2013

Three top retailers spill their secrets about navigating Expo West plus the first thing they do upon returning home.

Mo George-Payette, COO/Director of Purchasing for Mother’s Market and Kitchen, based in Costa Mesa, Calif.Mo George-Payette, COO/Director of Purchasing for Mother’s Market and Kitchen, based in Costa Mesa, Calif.

What secrets do you have for navigating the expanse that is Natural Products Expo West?
As seasoned retailers, we have specific tasks to accomplish, such as deepening partnerships with our key vendors as well as meeting new potential companies to partner with. It can be overwhelming just getting through the crowd at a popular booth, so we have found it most effective to get important information from them and exchange contacts to follow up after Expo West instead of waiting in line to have a longer intro.

How do you keep your energy up during Expo West?
Personally, keeping the energy up simply comes from the crowd and the excitement of evaluating many new items being presented, as well as connecting with the various vendors. Our industry’s vibe is dynamic. There are of course plenty of herbal options and supplements available at the show to sample if an extra boost is needed or an adaptogen is required to keep rolling.

What’s the first thing you do when you return to your store?
The first thing our team does upon returning from Expo is to pool our collected info and prioritize according to which products have already had orders placed and/or are closest to being ready to ship. From there, we start the process of sorting out the details: certifications for sustainability, distributors, etc.



Scott Owen, Grocery Merchandiser for PCC Natural Markets, based in SeattleScott Owen, Grocery Merchandiser for PCC Natural Markets, based in Seattle

What secrets do you have for navigating the expanse that is Natural Products Expo West?
Create a plan before you go with booth numbers of interest, and check them off as you go. Start at one side (high or low numbers) and work your way up or down. Carry paper—not samples—as a reminder of what you like, take notes on the sell sheets, travel light.  

How do you keep your energy up during Expo West?
Eat a good breakfast. Don’t go crazy eating samples. Try to set aside time to have a “meal” even if it’s only a nutritional bar and water. Wear good shoes, and go to bed by 10 p.m.  

What’s the first thing you do when you return to your store?
I write up a report on the “new,” the “trendy” and, yes, the “weird,” usually with some pictures to share with all of the staff. Expo is a great place to see it all.



Mark Panzer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boulder, Colo.-based Pharmaca Integrative PharmacyMark Panzer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boulder, Colo.-based Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy

What secrets do you have for navigating the expanse that is Natural Products Expo West?
Know who you want to see, planning your time and route around them. Then make sure you have some time to explore.

How do you keep your energy up during Expo West?
Eat lots of samples.

What’s the first thing you do when you return to your store?
We review the new items and the new vendors and put in place the plans that we’ve built at Expo West with current and new vendors.

Bonus tips

Keep informed at the show.
Get a preview of Expo West events, read about editors’ picks and peruse show happenings with newhope360.com’s Expo West Show Daily. To sign up, go to newhope360.com/showdaily.

Making your plan.
Check out expowest.com before you head to California. The website covers everything you need to know about the show, including registration procedures, floor plans and contact information. You’ll also find a complete show directory that details educational sessions, special events and exhibitor information and booth numbers.

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