GIMA poll backs talks on Glee discount stands deal

A straw poll held by Garden Industry Manufacturers' Association (GIMA) members at its business meeting last week showed they were in favour of pursuing a discounted stands deal at Glee in 2010.

Accepting the deal would mean exclusive attendance at next year's exhibition. GIMA management is now seeking feedback from members about this year's show before negotiating further with Glee. GIMA director Neil Gow would not comment on the poll.

New rival trade show Garden Expo has also offered GIMA a discounted stands deal that would also mean exclusive attendance from members who sign up to it.

The number of GIMA members exhibiting at Glee dropped by 30 per cent this year to around 80 — less than half of GIMA's total membership. Glee downsized to three halls from seven this year, while visitor numbers fell to 15,000 from 25,000 five years ago.

Garden Expo (28-30 June 2010, Stoneleigh) is charging £140/sq m for shelved space, while Glee (28-30 September, Birmingham NEC) is charging £200/sq m.

Garden Expo will run alongside the HTA's National Plant Show. The show was launched in response to strong demand from UK growers for an event held earlier in the year focusing on plants and British growers. More than 40 nurseries, including Allensmore, Wyevale, Lowater, Pentland, Farplants, Johnsons of Whixley and Bransford, have already signed up.

Niche shows including PATS, Aqua and Solex have lured pets, machinery, gift, furniture and barbecue exhibitors away from Glee in recent years. Glee has given companies until 23 October to re-book at discounted rates.

Clarion events director Sarah Porter, who organises Garden Expo, said Clarion is "still in dialogue" with GIMA. "It's down to their council. The offer is there if they want it." She said some GIMA members are likely to exhibit at both shows and some exclusively at one.

HTA business development director Tim Briercliffe said "not many growers" were likely to show at Glee 2010.

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