Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Whirlwind Coast to Coast Trip

Last week was one of those "coast to coast" trips where I was attending conferences, trade shows, client meetings and public marketplace events. A day meeting in Phoenix, AZ with a client, then it was off to Orlando, FL to attend the Global Pet Expo. As an 18 year veteran of the pet industry, the Global Pet Expo is an annual required ritual, and this year was no exception. Aside from having a few clients in the pet industry, it is also critical to remain current with new and emerging trends in the pet marketplace. I tend to be a creature of habit, and frequent the same hotels, restaurants and such. This year my usual hotel was booked solid, so I went to the Waldorf=Astoria Orlando, which is a lovely property.
Hilton Hotels, which owns the original Waldorf=Astoria New York, extended this luxury brand to other cities by building other Waldorf=Astoria properties. While no other location could match the magic of the historic Manhattan property, they have done an excellent job with this brand. The Waldorf Orlando is quite nice, with many familiar aspects of its NYC counterpart. For me, being at the Waldorf Orlando made being away form home--and in Orlando much more tolerable. The only way it could have been better was if I had my poodles with me. After a few days in Orlando, it was off to Las Vegas for a quick pit stop meeting, then back on the road again to Anaheim, California to attend another industry gathering.
Natural Products Expo West, or "ExpoWest" is an absolute juggernaut of trade shows for natural products. I have been attending this show for at least 10 years now, and truly enjoy this show. In addition to the trade show floor exhibits, there are a series of seminars and educational sessions to learn and network. I was still on EST when I was dragging my body through the ExpoWest event, with my brain still confused on zone zones. A few doses of strong coffee got me through client meetings and helped me shlep through the many trade show aisles. 
Somehow I squeezed in time to leave Anaheim to attend a charity luncheon and fashion show in Rancho Mirage, CA to benefit the Animal Samaritans of the Desert.  Before it was all over, I darted over to the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market where I visited a new client who was exhibiting there. I enjoy these retail events, equally to observe the merchant vendors and consumers in action. Sunday brought the Daylight Savings Time time change, so losing an hour of sleep threw me off a bit. As I settled into the Burbank house this evening, I looked back on the last 7 days in awe. Somehow I got it all in, remarkably so. It was a whirlwind, indeed.

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