Loma Vista Nursery News

Special Edition Blog

By Lyndsi Oestmann

If it’s July – it’s time to “cultivate” your business network! Our team is averaging 18-plus hours per person round trip to attend Cultivate’23 later this week. The annual trade show and convention presented by AmericanHort is the green industry’s premier event, held during July in Columbus, Ohio, and this year from the 15th through the 18th. World-class education, hands-on workshops, production tours and in-depth industry experiences draw thousands of industry professionals every year and more than 650 trade show exhibitors from around the world. 

Loma Vista Nursery commits to ongoing education and training for our managers and staff, so we want to make sure we get the most value possible from our team’s attendance at Cultivate. Time is precious and once we have invested time, energy and effort to get to Columbus, we want to have a good plan in place to get the most value from our effort.

Every Loma Vista Nursery team member attends Cultivate with an All-Access education pass, in addition to Expo Plus access. This investment in team education is small relative to the value the nursery receives. 

During our first years at Cultivate, I tried to attend an education session every minute one was available and I asked my team members to do the same. But that only resulted in overload. We learned it is much better to strategize as a team in advance so when sessions overlap, we can divide, conquer and report back to share information with each other. We also challenge one another to identify at least one key takeaway or idea that we can implement at Loma Vista Nursery. 

Groove Through the Expo & Trade Show

At Loma Vista Nursery, we have experience at our industry’s various annual trade shows as both an exhibitor and attendee. Cultivate is a mighty big show.  Walking the entire show floor is great if you have time. But if you are balancing other activities such as education sessions and on-site meetings, it’s good to have a plan and timeline for at least your top five to 10 stops. 

Based on our experience, the expo and trade show at Cultivate is a great opportunity to connect with vendor partners. If you plan to do this, consider putting your vendor contact’s cell phone number in your mobile phone. That way you can text them first and then meet up in their booth when they are around. 

We’ve found it’s wise to map out a plan for yourself in advance using the show’s handy mobile app. This innovative resource includes an exhibitor search engine, as well as a plan-your-day feature, floor map, conference schedule, messaging tab and list of “can’t miss” events. 

If you have specific questions for expo exhibitors, write them down so you don’t forget or send them a message through the mobile app. The expo floor is busy and can be overwhelming – especially if you are an introvert like me. Plan to stretch out of your comfort zone. Then, schedule time for yourself  to recharge either after your trip or during if need be.

Bond with Your Team, Too

There are many activities going on outside of the education sessions and trade show floor, including tours and vendor-hosted events. These are great to attend, especially for the opportunity to show support and appreciation to your business partners. Prioritize them, however, and be careful to not overload your schedule by trying to do too much. Doing that can have the opposite effect by posing conflicts that cause you to miss important opportunities.

We also want to use the investment in our Cultivate experience to build camaraderie among Loma Vista Nursery’s team members. We can do this at industry celebrations with other attendees, but we also make sure to set up times for our team to meet and share a meal or another experience together that is independent of other happenings. This can be as easy as meeting in the hotel lobby to walk over to the conference center together. Remember the point is to carve out time to build connections with one another, too. 

There are also a few required “events” for our Loma Vista Nursery team members. These, in my book, are “can’t miss.” They are the Morning Jolt! Keynote Presentation on Sunday morning and the AmericanHort State of the Industry Address on Monday. I highly recommend every person attending Cultivate’23 attend these two important – and information-packed – presentations. 

Consider the Big Picture

Whether this is your first time attending Cultivate or you are a seasoned pro, my top four tips for trade show success are tried and true. Give these a whirl and let me know how they work for you.

Set goals ahead of time. Ask why you are attending Cultivate. Do you wish to connect with vendors? Customers? Is your goal to attend educational programming, workshops or tours? Are you after pesticide recertification credits? Keep your goals simple. Before I hop on the plane to Columbus, I usually jot down no more than three, along with action items to accomplish them. 

Review the schedule and map out your itinerary in advance. You can download the app I mentioned earlier and customize your schedule on your smartphone. I really like this method because it works best for me – but you do you. If it’s easier to map out your plan on paper, do so! Just be sure to leave a little downtime so you have room to connect with industry peers. Much of the learning at Cultivate is inside the classroom walls, but equally as much can happen in conversations anywhere you are in the Greater Columbus Convention Center. During a recent Cultivate, I learned something new from an industry peer in line at Starbucks!

Take good notes and photos. Record whatever will help you remember because you may find yourself in information overload. Make sure to digest key takeaways and ideas that are mission critical to your business. Make time in the weeks after Cultivate to brainstorm how, when and where you will implement them. When presenters offer to share their slides or answer questions later by email, take them up on it! When our team members return from Cultivate, each person will present to our management team on their experience, including sharing their key learning or takeaways so we can implement them at Loma Vista Nursery.

And finally – wear comfortable shoes! You will definitely be doing a lot of walking. Consider wearing a pedometer or download a fitness app to your mobile device. It’s fun to see just how much exercise you’re getting and how many steps you’re taking while on your journey to career growth.

I hope to see you at Cultivate later this week. And if we haven’t met yet, be sure to introduce yourself and say hello!

Lyndsi Oestmann is president of Loma Vista Nursery and is a member of the AmericanHort leadership team as a board member. She is participating as a panelist during the discussion “Succession or Sell: Taking Over a Horticulture Business” at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, July 17.

Learn About the Loma Vista Nursery Family and Our Landscape Plants

Loma Vista Nursery’s staff members are experts in the field. We love helping people learn and understand more about plants. Visit our plant catalog for information about shrubs, trees and perennial plants that are ideal for Midwest landscapes. To get answers to plant-related questions, send an email to sales@lomavistanursery.com or call (785) 229-7200.

Connect With Us

Stay current on our plant recommendations, growing tips and more by following us on social media.


Instagram    Facebook    LinkedIn