For nearly a decade, Vista Farms has used the Southern United States Trade Association’s Generic Program to expand their reach internationally. The Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico-based company cultivates a variety of Bougainvillea, Hibiscus, and Ixora young plants as a wholesale, propagation-only nursery. They started in 1988 and now ship worldwide.
How does a Puerto Rico nursery also cultivate international relationships? By exhibiting in SUSTA’s pavilion at IPM Essen in Germany for over a decade. Since 2010, they have showcased their colorful tropical plants at this show and met buyers from all over the world, not just Europe. Indeed, that is where they met their customers from Kuwait, India and Chile to name a few. Because the ornamental plant business can be sensitive to market fluctuations, it is not uncommon for a client to go dark for a few years and then resurface again. Therefore, having a presence at IPM every year is important. Vista Farms continually meets new customers there, and they can re-connect with former clients as well.
“Most, if not all, of our export sales are a result from IPM. The SUSTA pavilion is a godsend because it is turnkey; we just show up! We are a small business, so going to an international show on your own is a logistical challenge and quite expensive,” said Jerome O'Neill, Manager, Vista Farms.