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Editor's Note: Battered, but buoyant, in Boston

Property of SeaFood Business magazine
By Fiona Robinson, Associate Publisher, Editor
April 01, 2010

A raging Nor'easter didn't bog down the business of buying and selling seafood inside the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center this past month. The skies turned gray as exhibitors at the International Boston Seafood Show put the finishing touches on their booths and dug in for what turned out to be three days of torrential rainfall.

When the doors opened Sunday morning, there was a steady crowd of visitors, and that buzzing sound of a full trade-show hall continued steadily throughout. After the doom and gloom of the past year, everyone I spoke with was too apprehensive to say business was beginning to pick up. Phrases such as "cautiously optimistic" and "slowly turning the tide" were repeated over and over during the show and evening receptions.

Suppliers said they heard more positive comments from restaurant and retail buyers this year. And buyers I spoke with said their time at the show was full of productive meetings and noted that they found the overall mood to be upbeat.

In full disclosure, I'm not writing this because our parent company, Diversified Business Communications, produces the show. I'm writing because the past year has been hard on everyone, and sharing this little bright spot of optimism beyond the halls of the BCEC is necessary for readers who didn't make the trip.

In addition to business, sustainability was on the agenda for several conference seminars at the show. It's clear the tide of supplier acceptance has turned, and now buyers are struggling with how to convey sustainability information to consumers who want it without overwhelming those who have no clue - or who don't care - what it means.

The skies cleared on the last day of the event, leaving evidence everywhere that a powerful storm had ripped through Boston: Streets were swollen with water, hotel windows had new leaks, broken umbrellas lay scattered about and there were several reports from home of flooded basements. The show couldn't have ended on a better note, however, and soon it 
was time to wring out the soggy clothes and get back to work with renewed enthusiasm about the potential for better days ahead.


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