2013 Catersource Conference & Tradeshow: PreShow Saturday

What do you call it when you get ready to go out on the town by slinging back a couple before you even get in the door? Pre-gaming? Well, today was very much a Catersource pre-game, setting the stage for tomorrow with a few caterers trickling in the door.

Bundles of totebags!

We welcomed our interns, who stuffed tote bags for hours and were a huge help in setting up. We set up the store, which will feature some very cool designs by our talented VP of Marketing, Nan Hildebrandt. We also welcomed Bill Pannhoff, Meryl Snow, Carl Sacks, Mike Roman and the whole Catersource crew– it’s always like a family coming home again.

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Today we hosted the Top Gun Roundtable and European Party Caterers Association, who participated in a speed-dating networking session that left all of them inspired. I learned how Jeffrey Miller Catering started a floral design division from other caterers at Catersource, which then sprouted tens of thousands of dollars of profit at his company. I heard how Top Gun caterers are using social media and website building to increase sales. And I heard how EPCAS opens and closes its meetings, getting its members excited for the day ahead, even though they have been on long overseas flights the night before: founder Charles van Goch plays a brilliant bugle.

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EPCAS and Top Gun caterers gather together and shared their expertise.

I also met many caterers I’d only spoken to on the phone or through email. Mike Rabe–whose Honolulu, HI company Creations in Catering I’d profiled for our July/August 2012 issue–told me in person all about his new chef– and how he’s asking him to read issues of Catersource for training. Ashley Epting of Athens, GA’s Epting Events, whose facility move was  featured in the November/December 2012 issue, excitedly told me all about his upcoming world tour on Semester at Sea. And Vibrant Table’s Art Fortuna of Portland, OR,   described his company’s toast, which centers on “Generous Portions of Laughter.” He also cited Portlandia, one of my favorite tv shows about certain ridiculous aspects of culture, and thus earned some brownie points with me.

At the Top Gun EPCAS Joint Session

At the Top Gun EPCAS Joint Session

All told, there was a lot of learning, networking and love between caterers– but like any pre-game, it doesn’t hold a candle to the main event. See you tomorrow!

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