California Love [at Expo West]

Hey friends!

Whew- the last five days have been a whirlwind! I’ve been going nonstop ever since I left for Expo West last Thursday morning  (and may be lacking a bit of sleep…). The expo took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday and I hopped back on a plane to Denver early Monday morning. It was a wonderful, crazy, busy weekend and I certainly learned a lot about the natural foods industry. Representing FlapJacked was also great and I’m excited to see what any opportunities from the expo will provide for this awesome company. I also got just a little bit of beach time at the beginning of the trip…

laguna beach

It felt so good to wear a tank top and flip flops, but was also a little bittersweet. I’m ready for summer!

Thursday began super early with a morning flight out to Anaheim. My bestie came out to help out with the Expo for the weekend- which made it even better!

plane

Paige and I had pretty much all of Thursday free, so we decided to head straight for the beach! I really had no idea where to go, but someone at the rental car place recommended Huntington Beach, so we headed there. We grabbed lunch and headed down to the beach and stuck our toes in the sand (which was kind of …. dirty).

sandy feet

Since we still had a few hours free, Paige and I decided to just drive down Pacific Coast Highway and head towards Laguna Beach. It was beautiful – and definitely a lot cleaner than Huntington Beach!

laguna

I definitely prefer the mountains to the ocean… but I do still have a place in my heart for the beach (it’s my maiden name after all!)

After a lovely afternoon of walking on the sand (and sitting in traffic…) it was time to head back to the hotel- and was all business from that point forward. We met with my bosses, talked a little bit about the expo over dinner and tried to head to bed early. We had a big day ahead of us!

Heading into the expo on Friday morning was exciting and overwhelming- there’s over 3,000 exhibitors represented! Pretty much anyone you can think of from the natural products industry- including all of my favorite brands of foods, beverages, personal care, nutrition, supplements and cleaning products. Each exhibitor had a booth, and they varied from small to huge (with lots of displays, signage, props and other fun stuff). We were located amongst some of my favorite Colorado brands in a really great high-traffic area. Our booth looked bright and beautiful- and I only managed to get a photo of half of it.

booth

Various buyers, brokers, investors, distributors and media came by the booth all day. I did a lot of talking, hand-shaking and hopefully helped make progress towards some big things happening for FlapJacked!

badge

All three days were long and productive, and I got to walk around and check out the various exhibitors over the course of the weekend. It was definitely overwhelming- as there were so many great companies that I wanted to check out (and there just wasn’t enough time to do it all!). The expo is spread out over five different floors- which are all HUGE, so you really have to pick and choose which are the most important to seek out. Luckily, two of my favorite guys came over to the FlapJacked booth to say hello!

Clark- who runs the social media for Quest:

clark

(They’re sponsoring one of the breakfasts for Blend and it’s going to be EPIC! So go sign up!)

Another friend that stopped by was Daniel – owner of GoodPop!

daniel

Daniel and I have been Instagram friends for a long time, but this was the first time we got to meet face to face. If Goodpops are available where you live- go pick some up- they’re delicious!!

I also managed to pick up just a little bit of swag…

swag pile

I will be talking about some of the wonderful products that I discovered in much further detail later this week!

At the end of each night, a band played in the plaza and the drinks flowed. It was a lot of fun!

plaza

After the show ended Sunday, it was time to tear everything down. Amazingly, it happened pretty quickly and smoothly (and the bosses went back later to make sure everything got shipped out). The expo is SUCH a huge operation and it’s pretty incredible to see it come together and then be torn all apart.

Oh yeah- and confession: I only worked out one day while I was there. After that first day and figuring out that I’d be standing or walking for at least 12 hours each day, I figured that I should probably save my energy…

I’m back in Colorado, playing catch-up and will be back later on with more details about the weekend. For now- I’ve got a giveaway winner to announce!

The winner of the FlapJacked giveaway is:

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 6.40.52 PM

Congrats Claire!! Please email me at lauren@meandthemountains.com within the next 48 hours to claim your prize!

Have a great day!

Have you ever been to a natural foods expo? Who are some of your favorite brands?

Comments

  1. I loved seeing all of the pictures of you and Paige at the expo! It looked like a great time :)

  2. itzyskitchen says:

    SO freaking cool! What an event! I would have gone crazy there :) Glad you had a blast and got some beach time in

  3. That would be such a fab event to attend! Way to go on the big event for your new gig :)

  4. How FUN! I think I’d be in heaven at an expo like that. Annette and I did the Gluten Free Expo last year here in SLC, and that was super fun too. Tons of swag and lots of great food. Way to go at your first big event!

  5. alextriesitout says:

    I haven’t been to a food expo, but it sounds like it would be SO much fun. I have worked expos though, and honestly, it’s so much walking/standing … no workout needed!!

  6. I went! I loved it! I had so much fun and grabbed so many things!

Trackbacks

  1. […] feels really good to be back in Colorado eating “regularly” again after this weekend! Expo West is most definitely a foodie’s paradise and it was really great to be able to try so many […]

  2. […] and the company. The owner Daniel has become a friend of mine and we even got to hand out a bit at Expo West back in […]

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