(May 11) CHICAGO — Exhibitors at All Things Organic said there was a good mix of traffic at the show that took place in hall below United 2006 on May 7-9 at McCormick Place convention center.

It wasn’t just the natural fiber-wearing crowd, either. Attendees reported seeing a lot of suits.

“We get a lot of crossover from the mainstream show upstairs,” said Bonnie Poux, owner of Access Organics, Kalispell, Mont.

Some companies had booths at both shows, but others decided to go organics-only this year. It’s a hard decision to make, said John France, president of Sierra Heights Marketing and Tule Specialty Packers, Potterville, Calif.

“It’s always a big debate with us whether we would have a booth down here or upstairs (at United),” France said.

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Indianapolis-based Caito Foods Service Inc. has rotated between United and All Things Organic in the past. Joe Himmelheber, director of merchandising, said people interested in organic produce make a point to visit both shows.

He said being downstairs also gives exhibitors a chance to see what’s happening in all aspects of organics.

For companies that also have nonproduce items, like San Francisco-based Pacific Organic Produce and its juice division, Purity Organic, being downstairs was a good fit.

Pacific Organic’s president, Greg Holzman, said the organic show was good for Pacific because it wants to emphasize that organic is a specialty rather than a commodity.

Wenatchee, Wash.-based Dovex Marketing Co. chose to bring its big booth down to the organic show this year also. The space it would have occupied on the United floor had signs directing customers to its location at All Things Organic.

Tracy King, director of marketing, said the company wanted to focus on organic this year.

MOVIN’ ON UP

Not everyone is migrating to the organic show.

Chicago-based organics distributor Goodness Greeness Inc. had a booth at United, rather than at All Things Organic.

“We wanted to focus our presence on produce, and we thought we’d do it at United,” said said Pat Bayor, director of sales. “We probably will have booths at both shows next year.”

San Juan Bautista, Calif.-based Earthbound Farm also focused on the United show instead of the organic show.

Tonya Antle, vice president of organic sales, said the company would rather be upstairs with the other produce-related exhibitors, conventional or not.