PHILADELPHIA – The Penn Atlantic Nursery Trade Show kicked off its 40th anniversary celebration yesterday at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa. The Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association’s flagship event continues through Aug. 2.
More than 400 exhibitors showed their wares – including eight companies that have been there since the very beginning.
Waynesboro Nurseries is one of those original PANTS exhibitors. Kirk Quillen, vice president and sales manager of Waynesboro Nurseries said the business was started by his grandfather in the 1920s.
His father, Ray, and uncle, Max Quillen, were the second-generation and now Kirk, his brother and three first-cousins are the third-generation running the family-owned. Kirk said there are several reasons he keeps coming each year, but the location is one of the strongest. It’s ideal for the Waynesboro, Va.-based wholesale grower, because it is a supplier to the entire Eastern U.S., from Connecticut to Georgia.
“It’s been a very strong show over the years,” Kirk said. “It’s had good attendance for a summer show, and it’s an area we do a lot of business in.”
May Nursery also has attended PANTS each year of its existence. Jenni Briggs, a sales representative for May Nursery, said PANTS provides the Florida nursery with valuable face-to-face interaction with its customers.
“This industry is all about relationships,” Briggs said.
PANTS bills itself as the trade show for nurseries, greenhouse growers, landscape contractors and independent garden centers, and each branch of the green industry was represented.
This year was the first time PANTS partnered with Master Nursery Garden Centers, a national cooperative of 650 independent garden centers. PANTS attendees can also work toward their pesticide credit by participating in demonstrations given by the Penn State Extension and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture each day of the show.
– Matt McClellan