(April 10, 5:10 p.m.) BOSTON — Another year of high attendance characterized the New England Produce Council's April 9 trade show.

Organizers say the eighth year of the show at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center attracted more than 1,500 attendees and exhibitors.

Critical for attracting key retail decision makers, more exhibitors participated in the event, said council president Robert McGowan, vice president of produce for Eastern Sales & Marketing/ New England, Waltham.

“We have a lot of retail produce managers here this year,” he said. “This is the first time the breakfast program has been full.”

McGowan said some of the region’s retailers sent their produce managers to the event in rented buses.

The expo drew 230 exhibitors, up from last year’s 218. As many as 700 non-exhibiting attendees registered for the event, said Laura Sullivan, the council’s executive director.

“There was a lot of traffic on the show floor,” she said. “We get huge support from northeastern retailers.”

Jack Salamon, senior category manager for Shaw’s Supermarkets Inc., East Bridgewater, opened the morning session by asking for a moment of silence to remember Jim Nolan, the former domestic and international sales manager for fresh cranberries for Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., Middleboro, who died March 2.

Bozzuto’s Inc., Chesire, Conn., won first place in the yearly booth contest for having the best single booth with Coastline Produce, Salinas, Calif., winning honorable mention.

In the multiple booths division, Arrow Farms Inc./Gold Bell Inc. and its DiSilva Fruit, Chelsea, won first place.

This was the first year that Bland Farms Inc., Glennville, Ga., exhibited at the show.

“We thought we needed to get involved,” said Richard Pazderski, a director of sales. “I’m surprised by the amount of traffic here. There are a lot of buyers here to get our name out to. This show is a good way to do that.”

Exhibitor Bob Von Rohr, marketing and customer relations manager for Sunny Valley International Inc., Glassboro, N.J., said the show always draws many retailers.

“It’s nice to see that a lot of the retailers have their produce managers attending with them,” he said. “That lets them get involved and see what’s new and different in the market.”

Big turnout for NEPC show in Boston
Dan Arnold, sales director of Noble World Wide, the sales division of Winter Haven, Fla.-based Wm. G. Roe & Sons Inc., Winter Haven, Fla., and Mike D’Agostino, salesman with DiSilva Fruit, Chelsea, Mass., talk with Rich Forgetta, produce manager for West Side Marketplace, Rocky Hill, Conn., on April 9 at the New England Produce Council's trade show.