Why are you looking forward to visiting Glee?

The UK's top retail trade show is on 21-23 September at Birmingham NEC. HW asks visitors what they get out of it.

"Glee is essential to our members. They see the show as very important and generally visit with their buying teams.

"Next year for the International Garden Centres Association (IGCA) congress in the UK we've added Glee to the schedule because we think it is so important for retailers to attend.

"I advise that visitors plan their day carefully beforehand because Glee is so big. We have a GCA VIP lounge this year for IGCA/GCA members and specially invited suppliers. It's in the Seasons Club next to the press office and offers refreshments, a cloakroom and internet access."

- Gillie Westwood, chief executive, GCA

"I think Glee's a must - you can't not go. I want to see some innovative new products but maybe there have not been that many over recent years. Sometimes there are new ideas there but you just know they won't sell.

"Between our two centres, 14 individuals will go. Only the chief buyer goes for three days and two staff go for two days, with the rest for one day apiece.

"One thing we have learnt is that if you want to be there for the opening Monday you always get caught in traffic (on the day), so we stay in Birmingham on Sunday night."

- Richard Dean, co-owner, Dean's Garden Centres, North Yorkshire

"Because I'm not a buyer, my aim at Glee is to be able to feed back to our purchasing team my point of view from the shop floor, and give them feedback from customers.

"I look round and see what is new. I look for trends and what has been around the retail shows during the season. Then I'm trying to influence our purchasing department, which is always a challenge.

"Also, it's good to get up there and meet other people and network. Retailers are all in the same boat."

- Peter Newson, manager, Frosts Garden Centre, Buckinghamshire

"It's just an essential show for garden centres. I go for the duration, taking in one hall a day.

"I always learn a lot from the show. I attend for educational reasons - because we're relatively new to retailing, having started in 2000, I want to learn about garden centre trends and do some ordering as well.

"I'm probably going to look at Solex too, but at 35 exhibitors I'm not sure if it's fully representative.

"I am a show addict - but I see it as a job. I also like to involve staff in purchasing decisions, because it gives them more of a feel of being part of the business."

- John Jackson, co-owner, Swarkestone Nursery, Derbyshire.


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