“Where else can you gather with over 9,000 of your colleagues, face-to-face, all ready to build relationships, sell and buy new products and services, and get inspired by an amazing lineup of speakers?”
My very first food show EVER is the World’s Biggest for Dairy, Deli and Bakery Goods.
“IDDBA is the largest show for the dairy, deli, bakery, and foodservice professional…and draws over 750 exhibiting companies with more than 1,900 booths.”
The first lesson that I’ve learned since I began working in the food industry is simple, and stolen from the Boy Scouts: Be Prepared.
And prepared we were, as far as I was concerned. As Sales Admin for Chuckanut Bay Foods, paperwork is my life. To get us all ready for the International Dairy, Deli and Bakery Association’s big show, I made sure our registration was submitted early; I secured refrigeration units for our little booth; I knew a pallet of our fresh desserts had been shipped and would arrive the second we arrived at our convention center. Our selling, decorating and personal supplies had been inspected and packed by Heather C., Sales Manager and seasoned food show veteran. We. Were. Very. Prepared. I expected we’d show up, sell some cakes, shake some hands and be home in time for dinner.
Turns out, there are many millions of things that can go wrong when you’re away from home.
When: June 5-7, 2016
Where: Houston, Texas
The week before it was to host IDDBA, the City with No Limits was inundated with days of rain, flash floods and thunderstorms. We arrived safely, but only after our plane circled the sky for an extra hour while we waited for the lightning to pass.
Once on the ground, I could not stop taking pictures of the sky.
You just don’t get clouds like this in the Pacific Northwest.
But all those storms left the city struggling with power outages…which we discovered when we tried to drive to our 2016 IDDBA destination, the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Here is a picture of Big George, as I thought of him stolen from wikipedia. This is what I expected.
Gorgeous, isn’t he? And true to form, George was big and beautiful…
…except when we arrived, he was also completely ringed in blockades, cranes and bulldozers. Handsome George was getting a face lift.
Alas, poor George was also struggling with some power issues.
Our pre-ordered display freezers? You know, the ones that I had paper-worked so hard to make sure would be there when we arrived? Well, they were there. They just weren’t working. Like the electricity to the booths around us. Worse, due to those same power outages, George’s massive freight elevators had broken down. The elevators that are used to deliver shipments. Shipments like cheesecake.
When we arrived, covered in warm rain and mud to find our freezers non-functioning and nary a cheesecake in sight, Heather turned to me and taught me Lesson Number Three:
“Don’t worry. As long as the product shows up, everything else is gravy.”
And she was right. Our desserts arrived just a few moments later than we had expected. We were on schedule, with plenty of time to do my favorite part of our preparation day — cheesecake decoration!
When decorating, we always want to keep our hand light. Nothing too fancy needed.
Our goal is to compliment the natural beauty of Chuckanut Bay Cheesecakes. Because we only use the finest, all-natural ingredients in our small-batch desserts, it’s pretty simple to make them look amazing.
Single Serve Espresso and Chocolate Truffle Cheesecakes…and my foot.
I am no expert, but by the end of our work day, I felt like we had done something special.
Our booth was all set up and ready to display – and we were ready to sell. After all, the goal of having a trade show is to find new ways to bring our desserts to you.
IT’S SHOW TIME.
Lesson Four: Enjoy!
As it was my first show, I got to watch the experts do their best.
Matt R., our fearless leader and one of the owners of Chuckanut Bay Foods joined Heather C. to do the heavy work of selling our yummy desserts. Seeing those two in action was amazing — kind of like watching one of those nature shows about predators.
Meanwhile, I tried to take everything in. I observed, I befriended, and I ATE. Goodness, did I eat. What would any food show be without the food?
I also walked about ten miles of booths, made new friends from all over the world and had a wonderful time representing the cheesecake I love so very much.
Now that I’m back in the Pacific Northwest, I miss the warm and friendly faces of the people I met in Houston. So, let’s end on a wish: I hope to get to see every one of my hard-working friends again; I hope to have as exciting and enjoyable a time at IDDBA in California next year; and that I hope all of you get to try one of our cheesecakes soon.
And now, more pictures of clouds!
From our Family to yours –
Sales Administrator for