63rd Annual NAPMM Conference - March 26-29, 2009

Hosted by the world famous Pike Place Market


March 26-29, 2009 NAPMM ventured to the west coast for the second time in the last three years for the 63rd Annual Conference in Seattle. The event was hosted by The Pike Place Market, a shopping destination for locals and tourists alike for over 100 years. The Pike Place Market also joined long-time supporters CHEP and the Philadelphia Regional Produce Market as a monetary sponsor.  The contributions are essential to helping keep the conference affordable for members. On behalf of the NAPMM Board, I would personally like to thank and acknowledge them again.


James Haydu, who only attended his first NAPMM conference last year in Philly, volunteered to host the event. James' background is in promotions and special event planning and this was evident in the flawless and seemingly effortless flow of the conference. Everything, from transportation to receptions, meals and sessions, went off without a hitch. James and his staff were amazing. Our sincere thanks to all involved.


The conference hotel is located in the heart of the Seattle waterfront with a variety of great seafood restaurants and the Pike Place Market, within easy walking distance. The views of the Puget Sound, the surrounding mountains, and the buildings of downtown Seattle are spectacular.


Thanks to James, with assistance from Janel Leatherman, Paul Steinke and Deb Churchill, the program was an impressive as the location.  From the famous Pike Place fishmongers throwing fish at the opening reception to a behind the scenes tour of the Pike Place Market and a tour of the famous Space Needle, there was never a dull moment.


Classroom sessions included a talk by Nancy Leson, long-time Seattle food and restaurant columnist, on current food trends; presentations by Pike Place staff and board members on "Serving the Community", Pike Place's unique social and housing programs, the ins and outs of commercial leases and "New market tax credits", an innovative method to fund market improvements. Two vendors also spoke about what it takes to be successful in a busy 7-day market like Pike Place.


James Prevor, "The Perishable Pundit", spoke about the future of the food distribution system and the role wholesale and retail markets may play in the mix. Other presentations from Seattle Council President, Richard Conlin, on how markets can play a role in solving problems of community food access and from PCC Natural Foods, Joe Hardiman, on trends in local and organic buying. Two wholesale and retail roundtables were also on the agenda as well as a tour of the University District Farmers Market.


The conference was by all accounts one of the best in both content and execution in my memory, despite the fact that security had to quiet down what we thought was a mellow gathering the first night in the hospitality suite. Again, bravo and thanks for James and his staff. Enjoy the pictures and start planning now for next year's conference in Dallas.