The dust is still settling from the unfortunate postponement of Natural Products Expo West, which had been scheduled for March 3-7 in Anaheim, Calif. More than 3,600 companies from the industry were set to display, and 86,000+ peers were to be in attendance, but the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak put an end to all that.

And last Friday we got the news that the event would not be rescheduled, as had been hoped.

“2020 will be the first time in 40 years that we will not host an annual natural & organic products show in Anaheim,” event organizer New Hope wrote following the announcement. “We’re disappointed, and we know many of you will be as well. So, what are we doing about it? We are directing our attention to [Expo East in] Philadelphia and are excited about the opportunities we can provide the industry via our increased exhibition and gathering spaces within the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the plans we have for showcasing the industry’s emerging brands, new product innovations and sustainability efforts in unique ways.”

Of course, it was the right decision.

We’re in the middle of a global pandemic that is bringing much of the world to a grinding halt. The fate of Expo West (which was one of dozens of similar events to be canceled in recent weeks) is inconsequential in the face of this challenge.

But that doesn’t mean we aren’t bummed about it.

Here at Makeena, we had been looking forward to Expo West all year. It’s our chance to hang out with old friends, make new ones, and just spend a few days digging deep and learning about all that’s new, cool and innovative in the natural products industry. And this year we aren’t going to get that.

Fortunately, the industry has been active on social media in the wake of the Expo West cancelation, leveraging the existing #ExpoWest and #ExpoWest2020 hashtags to keep the conversation going and share what might have been. 

Here are just a few of the updates that we’ve seen in our network…

Some companies tried to take Expo West online…

Brands showed off their cool new booth setups…

Others tried to have some fun with it…

I mean, a LOT of fun…

There were even parties…

But through it all, it’s the community that still matters most…

This has been a tough month for the entire natural products industry, and I’m sure the challenges will continue no matter what happens with Expo East and beyond. But seeing the industry come together like this, celebrating innovation while helping support each other through this difficult period is why we’re doing this work. 

And, in case you’re wondering, this is what Makeena planned to offer at #ExpoWest2020.

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