COVID-19 canceled most 2020 trade shows and forced others to move to a virtual format. Now there is light at the end of the long tunnel as many 2021 events are beginning to gather again in person. Now, after 14 months, Sod Solutions finally returned in person at the 2021 Texas ASLA Conference at the Galveston Island Convention Center.
Roberto Gurgel, executive director of research, attended the event and explained he enjoys conversing with landscapers and architects interested in specifying new grass varieties. Sod Solutions has been going to this conference for over 15 years.
“The show itself did not change much from previous years. They implemented social distancing and recommended masks. It had about half of attendance from previous years due to COVID,” Gurgel observed.
There were many hardscape vendors or companies that sell and install bricks, playgrounds, lights, fountains and other related landscape items. Not surprisingly, Gurgel said there were not many plant and grass vendors. The attendance did display many differing attitudes of willingness to socialize depending on people’s comfort levels and vaccination status.
“It was still a mix of being back to normal and being afraid of gathering with a crowd of people,” he shared. “Some people stayed back a little and used masks while others felt more available to freely move about without them.”
Gurgel was able to meet with specifiers and educate them about both new and old varieties and the benefits of using them in landscapes across Texas. This year the Sod Solutions display featured some of Texas A&M’s and Kansas State’s newest zoysia grass Innovation™ Zoysia, as well as Sod Solutions staples such as Palmetto® St. Augustine and Celebration® Bermudagrass.
“My favorite part of the event was talking to a few people who were familiar with our grasses,” Gurgel said.
Gurgel also had the opportunity to explain Sod Solutions new division, Sod Solutions Pro. Sod Solutions Pro takes decades of industry knowledge and experience and puts it to use, facilitating large-scale turfgrass projects from beginning to end. The mission is to make sure the right grass is being used in the right location to produce the best long-term success for clients. Services of Sod Solutions Pro include selection consulting, product sourcing, specification writing, delivery/installation logistics, financing and maintenance consulting.
“Now with Sod Solutions Pro, we have a chance to make contacts for future job installations and assist them in those projects from beginning to end,” Gurgel said.
Gurgel looks forward to the 2022 Texas ASLA Conference and says Sod Solutions may consider being a presentation sponsor next year in addition to having a booth.
Sod Solutions is determined to show producers and clients the importance of building lasting relationships while staying at the forefront of the industry. Sod Solutions looks forward to growing business and expanding existing clientele at both virtual and in-person trade shows.
Over the summer and fall, several high-profile conferences plan to take place in person. We hope to see many of you at events like the Florida ASLA Conference, the Southeast Building Conference, the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association Expo, Florida’s Landscape Show and others.
This article was written by Cecilia Brown.