New show director says Glee has everything centres need

New Glee director Sam Mitcham has said the show was in a strengthening position when the former security industry sales exhibition manager took over from Dan Thurlow.

"Dan has done a great job building community spirit and the show again," said Mitcham. "Now David Langrish (marketing manager) and I will continue developing Glee.

"Glee has more square metreage than last year. It has grown in size and everyone I've spoken to seems happy. Our new marketing campaign is going well and we have 6,000 visitors pre-registered."

Areas doing well at the Birmingham NEC show on 20-22 September include landscaping, which has sold out hall three (more space has now been added for the sector) and outdoor living. Mitcham said good summer weather and trading is behind the uplift.

But pets and nursery had not done as well as hoped, with competition from new events the Pet & Aquatics Trade Show and the National Plant Show biting.

Mitcham explained: "The National Plant Show shows the need for a national show. The offer at Glee is different. Glee is not just a plant show. The show has everything else a garden centre might need.

"For instance, this year we will have FoodLovers Britain, which will demonstrate how garden centres can bring good produce in. The crux is that Glee is a show for the whole garden community and the National Plant Show is just plants. Glee is for gardening and garden care."

Mitcham said the most exciting new feature at this year's show was "Garden Angels" - a Dragons Den-style competition "all about helping businesses get a start. We've not set out to be dragons. We want to be angels instead and be there to help you grow your business and make a start in the industry. Glee has to be a platform for new business coming through."

Last year saw an "innovators" showcase for new products. Mitcham admitted: "Not many have come back but what they've done depends on their business model. We have 32 new businesses this year."

He continued: "Some last year dipped a toe in the water and may be back in 2011. They may have the wrong model. It's important to give them the opportunity and for us to be seen as innovators of the garden industry."

TOP 100 GARDEN CENTRES SEMINAR

Garden Retail is hosting a seminar at Glee on 20 September to celebrate the publication of the feature on the top 100 garden centres by turnover. A panel will discuss whether centres offer customers enough inspiration.

Gardeners' World magazine editor Adam Pasco, HTA president Caroline Owen and international retail guru John Stanley are lined up for the morning seminar, which attracted more than 200 delegates in 2009.


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