The 32nd annual Natural Products Expo, the largest on record with more than 60,000 industry members and over 2,000 exhibiting companies, filled more than 1 million square feet at the Anaheim Convention Center March 8 – 11, 2012.
My first Expo West was 1999. Freshly licensed as financial advisor I set out to establish my value. Shared interests and habits brought me to this community, and I’ve been here since. These businesses offer a simple but monumental improvement over the traditional offering of a single bottom line for-profit. Instead of gearing revenue toward the benefit of shareholders, they make sure it benefits all stakeholders. That means shareholders, employees, and the community at large.
Organic, Natural, and Fair Trade, these widely adopted terms express the values of the community I set out to do business with. I was looking for clients who agreed that screens for social responsibility on their long term investments was what their stakeholders wanted. More than a decade ago, at Expo West, I knew I had found my tribe.
Honest Tea, Numi Tea, Sambazon, Guayaki, Organic Trade Association, Tierra Farm and Oregon Tilth are a few of the companies that I met early on and began long standing relationships. Every year I returned since 1999 I found new, like-minded clients. This year I came back again, and thrilled to see how hugely the community had grown.
For all the wrong reasons I missed the last five years of Expo West. A few visits to Expo East, the smaller version of the show, and a full travel calendar kept me away. Those days are over. Expo West 2012 was the largest Natural Products Expo to date and every person I spoke with said business was booming. Attendance was up 13% from 2011 with over 58,000 industry-related people and 3,000 exhibitors. The show is the second largest at The Anaheim Convention Center.
That larger show, held by The National Association of Music Merchants, has been around three times longer than ours, for 110 years. Unlike the Natural Products Expo, NAMM represents an industry composed of almost 100% discretionary spending. Seems to me like we’ll be #1 in no time.
Organic, Natural, and Fair-Trade products are now consumer staples. Every time people go to the store they realize that they do not want products or services rendered at the expense of others. A healthier profit can be made by taking care of every stakeholder affected by your business–employees, communities, and shareholders.
Being able to provide for this particular community at Expo West makes me smile everyday. Thanks everyone.
President & Founder