New Port Richey, FL- Some 2,900 independent retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, and nutritional counselors attended the 46th annual SOHO EXPO, Nov. 30 - Dec. 3 produced by SENPA.

“This by far was one of the most high energy shows I’ve experienced," said SOHO Expo Executive Director Carylene Walker.

Attendees experienced 23 exhibitor and SENPA-sponsored education programs including keynote speaker Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council, and Dr. Derrick DeSilva and Stuart Tomc of CV Sciences.

Topics ranged from New Innovations in Digestive Care, mega-3s, and Back to Herbs, to Three Ground Breaking Botanicals, Silver, and the Cannabis Disruption, just to name a few.

“SENPA is mindful of the Independent Retailer” said Debra Short, Executive Director SENPA, “with top-notch education, networking, and a proven innovative trade show Retailers remains up-to-date in the natural products industry it is, their show.”

Of the 570 exhibitor companies, 170 were first-timers.

Annual SENPA President’s Award

Each year SENPA honors a special individual or company from within the natural foods community with the President’s Award.  This individual or company is honored for making a long-time contribution to the Natural Products Industry above and beyond commercial success. The 2017 President’s Award Recipient is John Kacsan, an industry veteran since 1970 and past president of SENPA.

While with Tree of Life in 1983, he became involved with the southeast region, now SENPA, and was elected to the Board from 1987 to 1994 and again from 2014 to 2017.  His contribution was working on by-laws and passion was the success of SOHO EXPO.  During his tenure on the Board, he grew the broker participation to over 50% of the show floor.   “John is a true representative of the natural products industry with his extensive history and passion for SENPA/SOHO EXPO’s success” said President Michelle DuFresne.

Election Results

Meanwhile, Lester Burks, Life Line Foods, Pikeville, TN, was voted the new president elect.   Incoming supply side directors are Scott Cloud, Natural Immunogenics Corp., Sarasota, FL, and Andrew Fleming, Signature Group, Westmont, IL.  The elected retail directors are Deborah Cerankowski, Debbie’s Health Foods, Orange City, FL, Jackie Davis, Columbia Health Foods, Columbia, TN, Marie Montemurro, Lovey’s Natural Foods & Café, Wilmington, NC, and Renee Southard, Organic Marketplace, Gastonia, NC.  Angie O’Pry Blades, Fiesta Nutrition, Monroe, LA was appointed by the Board to the Retail Director seat.

Outgoing Board/Service Award

SENPA acknowledged Frances Drennen – Immediate Past President for her passion and endearing support in her tenure as SENPA President along with Ryan Kruse – Garden of Life, and John Kacsan – Seidman Food Brokerage and Taylor Hamilton – Tunie’s Natural Grocery & Vitamin Supercenter as outgoing board members.

SOHO EXPO puts all proceeds back into the industry to educate independent retailers and their staff.