BOSTON — Attracting more East Coast retailers, the New England Produce Council show Produce and Floral Expo saw another year of high industry participation.

Council president Jack Salamon, senior category manager for Shaw's Supermarkets Inc., East Bridgewater, said the Burlington-based organization’s April 27 expo attracted more retailers to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

“We have retailers from all sides of New England and up and down the East Coast,” Salamon said. “You’re getting more mid-level business people, the decision makers, category managers and buyers who don’t always get to go to the big shows coming here.”

Show participants said retail traffic was strong.

“There are a lot more retail people here,” said Charlie Dolan, a DiMare Co. principal who heads Homestead, Fla.-based DiMare’s New England operations. “They come up from the south, the Carolinas, to be here.”

Keeping with the show’s “The Grand Slam Club!” baseball theme, many exhibitors and participants wore Boston Red Sox baseball jerseys. During the show’s April 27 keynote breakfast, retired Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, discussed the discipline required to play in Major League Baseball.

“The World Series isn’t about us, the players, it’s about the city,” he said. “In baseball, you fail 70% of the time. If you fail 30% of the time, you’re a Hall of Famer. You can’t do that in business.”

Bozzuto’s Inc., Chesire, Conn., won first place in the best single booth division. In the multiple booths division, Tourtellot & Co. Inc., Warwick, R.I., won first place.

Council executive director Laura Sullivan said attendance was slightly higher than the 750 that attended last year’s show. This year’s show had 230 booths, similar to last year.

New England Produce Council hits home run with attendance

Doug Ohlemeier

Bob Steele (from left), and William Reinoso, produce managers for Woburn, Mass.-based Market Basket, look over packages of fresh-cut vegetables with Yvonne Mino, account manager with Supreme Cuts LLC, Mahwah, N.J., during the April 27 New England Produce Council Produce and Floral Expo in Boston.