After serving the florists in Connecticut for over 80 years the CFA appears to have dissolved, but other great associations continue to support retail florists.
The Connecticut Florists Association (also known as the CFA) existed to support the Connecticut florist and the floral industry through education, consumer information, business networking and related opportunities in order to strengthen the industry and contribute to the local economy. It was founded in 1938 as a professional trade association for all branches of the floral industry including...
- manufacturers of floral products and supplies
... and others who serviced the floral industry. This varied membership was bound together by common interests and also included students, retired florists, university professors and researchers. The Connecticut Florists Association represented and served the floral industry in Connecticut but also had members in many other states.
The CFA used a structure of actively functioning committees and a Board of Directors elected by the Membership. The Association developed and implemented programs to help members grow and become distinguished professionals in the operation of their businesses. The Association lead, unified and promoted the industry.
The association provided CFA members with new ways to solve management problems, improve their skills and motivates them to get things done through cooperative effort and ongoing educational initiatives.
CFA provided members with a variety of services designed to help them save money and arranges many benefits for owners and employees, updates on developing trends in the fast-changing floral industry and sponsorship of training programs.
Sadly the CFA seems to have been dissolved around 2020 after more than 80 years of service to the floral industry. The final statement on their website read as follows:
As everyone is aware, the Connecticut Florists Association has been struggling these last years. The dwindling number of flower shops, the increasing demands from every day duties, flower shops doing more business with fewer employees, as well as the fundamental changes to the floral industry have impacted the CFA's relevance. This is moment when our members will decide on the trajectory of our beloved Association.
Northeast Floral Expo (NEFE)
For many years the Connecticut Florists Association hosted an annual convention called the Northeast Floral Expo, often referred to as NEFE. It was a large event that attracted florists from far beyond just the state of Connecticut and featured truly beautiful floral arrangements throughout the host venue.
In 2014 FloristWare sponsored two business sessions – a Main Stage Business Seminar and a Business Clinic Workshop from Nancy Butler, an outstanding speaker and educator. Nancy is a very successful author, business coach and speaker and has been featured in many publications including USA Today, Money Magazine and The Day. She has also been a speaker for major corporations such as Pfizer, General Dynamics, and Dow Chemical.
With only $2000 to her name and no other source of income Nancy built (and later sold) an incredibly successful business using the same marketing and service strategies she would share with the florists at the 2014 NEFE in two separate sessions:
Anchoring Your Clients to You: How to be the Company of Choice (main stage)
Grocery stores have lower prices. Drop-shippers and order-gatherers have the advertising advantage. How do you compete? Nancy Butler will show you to leverage your strengths and make your company the company of choice.
Powerful Low Cost Marketing and Media Relations Solutions (clinic)
Good marketing and media relations are possible on any budget. This session will focus on low-cost marketing and public relations opportunities you can use to promote public awareness of your business.
In 2015 FloristWare exhibited in the NEFE vendor expo and also sponsored business content designed to help florists better (and more profitably) quote wedding and event work. Another highlight that year was a stunning exhibit from AIFD, designed to get people excited about their 50th Anniversary Symposium in Denver.
In 2016 NEFE made a significant venue change. After several years at the Mystic Marriot, just outside Mystic CT in Groton, the board decided to move the event back to the Springfield Sheraton Monarch in Springfield, MA.
That year FloristWare hosted two sessions from Tim Huckabee of FloralStrategies:
Smarter Sales the FloralStrategies Way
Main Stage: Saturday March 5, 4:00-5:30 PM (90 minutes)
Come learn the core elements of the dynamic sales and service approach being used by successful florists across New England and the world! You and your staff will learn to engage customers on the phone and the floor in exciting new ways leading to bigger sales, happier customers and more repeat business. Sam Bowles AIFSE will introduce new thinking, new ideas and new techniques to make selling far easier for your staff and shopping at your store far easier for customers!
Better Flower Shop Management Skills
Business Clinic: Sunday March 6, 2:30-3:30 PM (60 minutes)
The FloralStrategies team has visited over 5000 successful flower shops around the world since 1997 and gathered all their best practices for managing staff and resources. Come join this exciting new program to learn how to better deal with employee issues, regardless of your shop size, to increase productivity, efficiency and profitability. You will also learn smart ways to manage your staff's use of all the new sales skills they'll learn in Sam's main stage program on Saturday, Smarter Sales the FloralStrategies Way!
Sadly the 2016 NEFE convention may have been the last.