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Over 2,300 participants

Changes well received at this year's CPMA

The annual CPMA convention and trade show was held this week in Calgary, and this year's event brought a few changes that were well-received. In addition to this being the last time Calgary will host, the conference was condensed to three days mid week. On Monday 18th of April, FreshPlaza will publish their full photo report.

“We want to run events in core centers where the entire supply chain can interact and those participating get the most bang for their buck,” said CPMA President, Ron Lemaire. “So it's in the best interest of the industry that we transition the annual convention to other markets.” That doesn't mean there won't be any more events in Calgary or Alberta, added Lemaire, it just means that future events will be smaller and more tailored to the local industry.

“Every region is unique and provides its own identity,” said Lemaire. “We'll now have three regions that will rotate hosting duties, and that give us the opportunity to showcase each region.” The following show will take place in Vancouver, and then it will rotate to Montreal and Toronto before heading back to Vancouver in 2020.

While this year's convention was the last time Calgary would host the event, the 2016 show also brought about a first. This was the first time that the show was held midweek, and the change was very much appreciated by those in attendance.

“Over 95 percent of the people who have spoken to me about this have said the shift to a Tuesday through Thursday event has been fabulous,” said Lemaire. “This is the way the business now runs, with people saying that they can still work during the week and they can go back during the weekend and get back to the office fresh for the following week.” With the event condensed into fewer days, Lemaire added that more people are sticking around for the entire duration of the convention. That's boosted participation in social events that encourage building industry relationships.

While numbers are not yet in, this year's event is on pace to break attendance figures set in 2012, which is the last time the show was held in Calgary. There were 2,300 participants at that show, and Lemaire is confident they'll surpass that mark this year.

“We've had strong participation from buyers, store managers, retail owners and everyone involved in the industry,” said Lemaire. “It brings the grassroots in, it gets everyone involved, and everyone is committed to provide access to everyone else.”