Op-ed: Of course we are going to Boston
Chris Rosenberger is president of Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.-based Inland Seafood.
Few industries deal with the diversities, obstacles, and responsibilities which we face every day in the seafood world. During these past 24 months, the life I spent in the seafood industry has trained me well to navigate through most of what mother nature has to offer. I learned a lot about the people in my industry during these unprecedented trying times; we pivot, we adjust, we get it done, we move on.
To be a leader, you need to do more than just say the words, you must lead. As an employee- owned company, we have decided to take up travel again for any employee who chooses to do so. Furthermore, on 31 January, we decided to begin our regional food shows. New Orleans is always the first one on the calendar and it was an outstanding success. We knew it was time to get back to “somewhat” business as usual, but we were not prepared for the overwhelming positive response we received from our chefs, restaurant customers, retail customers, and the other food suppliers that we work with who attended our show as exhibitors. There were many factors involved in making the decision, but mainly, it was time to get back to business as usual. Cautiously, yes, responsibly, yes, but back to business as usual, nonetheless. As much as we were hoping for the best, there is always a sense of risk when being the first to do something and what we learned from our customers and the vendors in this industry, is that our show was the first B2B food show in the last two years. Surprisingly, there were 20 percent more people in attendance than our most successful year in the past!
If there are people in our industry who have decided to not attend Seafood Expo North America in March, I do not judge them. But, from the published list of preregistered key buyers, many of the customers and buyers who attend every year will be there, and those customers and buyers are plenty of reasons for us to attend. Our partners in the restaurant and retail sectors have struggled immensely, whether it be closures or supply chain issues. Supporting the show is not only the light at the end of the tunnel, it also tells them that we’re here to support them. I was astounded at the number of customers and other seafood vendors who reached out to me, both internationally and domestically, to make sure that I would be in Boston so that we could meet to discuss future business opportunities.
Inland Seafood is on track to host more food and wine experiences, aside from exhibiting at the Seafood Expo North America in March. All of our employees who are attending any of our shows or Boston are doing so voluntarily and not by mandate, to ensure that they can all make their own choice about travel.
SENA is where our industry meets, does business, sees old friends, and successfully brings healthy, sustainable seafood to our entire country.
See you in Boston!
[Editor's note: Diversified Communications, the operator of Seafood Expo North America, also owns and operates SeafoodSource]