FMA, SUPER FLORAL SHOW TO SPLIT AFTER 1997 EVENT

NEWARK, Del. -- The Floral Marketing Association here plans to split with the owner of the Super Floral Show following the FMA Convention and Super Floral Show in 1997.The board of FMA, a division of the Produce Marketing Association here, is reviewing alternatives for its annual floral convention after the contract between SFS officials and FMA expires in 1997, said Kathy Means, vice president of

NEWARK, Del. -- The Floral Marketing Association here plans to split with the owner of the Super Floral Show following the FMA Convention and Super Floral Show in 1997.

The board of FMA, a division of the Produce Marketing Association here, is reviewing alternatives for its annual floral convention after the contract between SFS officials and FMA expires in 1997, said Kathy Means, vice president of membership and public affairs at PMA.

"The board is considering its options," Means said. "It is anticipated that there will not be a formal contractual relationship between FMA and SFS after the 1997 FMA Convention and Super Floral Show," PMA said in a statement.

"Apparently we won't be working together in 1998," said Jim Johnson, president of Meetings & More, Scottsdale, Ariz., which operates the Super Floral Show. The Super Floral Show already has been booked for 1998, regardless of what FMA chooses to do, Johnson told SN. "It would be premature to speculate what happens after that."

"The FMA board apparently decided that the current situation is not what is best for its members," he added. "We understand that."

The FMA board decision follows the release of a position paper generated last month by Meetings & More.

In that paper, the company acknowledged the rocky history behind the joint convention and show, which was first held in 1993.

"FMA and SFS are different organizations with different philosophies," Meetings & More said. "FMA is a membership association committed to providing services for all FMA members. SFS is a privately owned trade show that built its success on limiting participation to qualified buyers and exhibitors who pay for the show."

According to the position paper, SFS lacks "sufficient autonomy" to control its future, and feels operationally restricted under the current contract with FMA.

Meetings & More went on to offer options, all of which were rejected by the FMA board. Those options included voluntary or mandatory financial support for the industry from SFS exhibitors, through FMA. In both cases FMA would have to sign a noncompete agreement with SFS.

Other options would have severed relationships with FMA and either encouraged co-existence of the convention and show, or begun a new floral association.

Both SFS and FMA officials said they will fulfill their contractual agreements for the FMA convention and SFS in 1996 and 1997. The 1996 FMA Convention and Super Floral Show is scheduled for June 13-15 in Houston, and in 1997 it will be held in Salt Lake City.

The two events were first held in conjunction in 1993. Before that, FMA held a day of educational workshops during PMA's annual October convention and exposition. The Super Floral Show, which was created in 1989, operated independently.

That year, PMA announced plans to spin off FMA's seminars into a separate event. Rather than compete with each other, FMA and SFS decided to form the joint convention and show.