Event marks “return to business” for clothing and accessory stores and boutiques throughout Florida
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (September 22, 2020) – A return to meeting in person meant a boost for local businesses as the Palm Beach County Convention Center (PBCCC) and Discover The Palm Beaches (DTPB), the official tourism marketing organization for Palm Beach County, welcomed their first event under the new Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s (GBAC) STARTM accreditation.
Florida Fashion Focus held its TRENDZ event from August 29 to 31 in an effort to kickstart the economy by providing a safe space for local stores and boutiques to place wholesale orders with exhibitors, which comprised sales representatives and manufacturers in the apparel and accessory industry. TRENDZ is typically held every quarter at the PBCCC; this was the group’s first event since January 2020.
Through its GBAC STARTM accreditation – a globally acclaimed “good housekeeping” seal developed by ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association – the convention center implements enhanced sanitation protocols designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Among these measures are routine disinfection of frequent touch points and nightly electrostatic spraying.
“The one comment we heard over and over from our exhibitors and attendees was that everyone felt safe due to the protocols and procedures that were implemented,” said Tom Carroll, president of Florida Fashion Focus, Inc., which applied additional safety measures such as pre-registration temperature checks, hand-sanitizing stations, capacity limits and strict requirements for exhibitor displays. “It made them realize we are able to proceed with business, even though our operating conditions have changed distinctly. We’re so glad we held this event, because we now view it as a first step that launched our exhibitors and local businesses back into a somewhat regular business cycle, which is so vital to their livelihood.”
Palm Beach County clothing stores and boutiques accounted for roughly 15 percent of TRENDZ’s overall attendance, with the remainder hailing from other parts of Florida. Pope Anthony, president of Anthony’s, a West Palm Beach-based clothing boutique that has been in business for 125 years, attended all three days. He said the event was critical to the business’ future success. Anthony’s was pacing toward its best year in history until March 2020, when sales came to a screeching halt and the store was forced to shut down through May 1.
“Where we would have sold $3 or $4 million worth of [products], we didn’t sell anything except for what we sold online,” said Anthony, who described the online store the company set up six years ago as its saving grace through the pandemic. With Palm Beach County’s high season on the horizon, Anthony stressed, “You’ve got to start planning in August and September for November, December and January. That’s why it was so important they had the show and we participated in it.”
The PBCCC is scheduled to host the next TRENDZ event from October 24 to 26, 2020. Attendees at the August event stayed in downtown West Palm Beach, including at the Hilton West Palm Beach – the convention center’s connected hotel, which also has its GBAC STARTM – and dined at local businesses in The Square and on Clematis Street.
Kelly Cavers, DTPB’s senior vice president of Group Sales and Destination Services, believes this event continues to help pave the way for successful in-person and hybrid meetings at the PBCCC, moving forward.
“Months of preparation on a community-wide scale, underpinned by a commitment to offering the highest standard of safety, resulted in a successful return to meetings and events in our destination last month,” said Cavers. “We look forward to building upon the high level of safety and sanitation we’ve established by pushing the envelope on innovation, assisting more local businesses through the GBAC STARTM accreditation process and continuing to exceed guidelines set forth by government and health officials.”
Added Dave Anderson, general manager of the PBCCC: “Seeing our new GBAC STARTM protocols in action and receiving such a positive response from our client and the Florida Fashion Focus attendees tells us that we are on the right track. Our goal is to make sure that anyone who attends an event or works at the PBCCC feels safe at all times.”
Palm Beach County recently became the first U.S. destination to have its convention center, convention center hotel and airport (Palm Beach International Airport) receive GBAC STARTM accreditation. The achievement marks a pivotal step toward earning the GBAC STARTM on a destination-wide basis – a pursuit first announced by DTPB in June 2020.
Discover The Palm Beaches, formerly the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau, is the official 501(c)(6) not-for-profit, accredited tourism marketing organization that promotes the collection of 39 cities and towns commonly referred to as “The Palm Beaches,” which spans more than 2,300 square miles and 47 miles of pristine, golden beaches from Highland Beach and Boca Raton to Jupiter and Tequesta. Tourism is among Palm Beach County’s major industries, generating $5.06 billion in direct visitor spending and supporting 70,000 jobs with an economic impact of more than $7.7 billion. Once recognized as a tropical escape for elite travelers in the late 1800s, America’s First Resort Destination® is making its resurgence as The Best Way To Experience Florida®, welcoming a record-breaking 8.22 million people in 2019. The Palm Beaches are home to more than 17,000 hotel rooms, ranging from historic resorts to boutique inns. The destination features more than 100 family-friendly attractions, world-class luxury and antique shopping experiences, 125 miles of peaceful waterways for on- or in-the-water activities, 160 artificial reefs that line the Atlantic Ocean’s Gulf Stream current, 160 golf courses, award-winning restaurants and a thriving entertainment scene boasting more than 200 art and culture organizations.
Situated along I-95, The Palm Beaches are also home to Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), with more than 200 daily direct flights to 27 domestic and international destinations in the United States and Canada. The Palm Beaches are also conveniently located next to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood and Miami International airports, each one only an hour away.
For more information about The Palm Beaches, visit www.ThePalmBeaches.com and connect on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @PalmBeachesFL, YouTube at Discover The Palm Beaches and the hashtag #ThePalmBeaches. Tune-in to The Palm Beaches TV for 24/7 streaming content of the destination’s hotels, attractions, restaurants and experiences.
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Discover The Palm Beaches
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