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."


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.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Garden centre profile: Hulme Community Garden Centre, Manchester

Garden centre profile: Hulme Community Garden Centre, Manchester

High environmental standards, community work and support for local suppliers are all lessons for the wider garden retail industry, Matthew Appleby discovers.

How can garden centres reduce plastic use?

How can garden centres reduce plastic use?

Garden retailers are under pressure to use less plastic as the Government's new 25-year environment plan seeks to introduce a wave of measures to reduce pollution.

Will peat use be taxed or banned?

Will peat use be taxed or banned?

The Government has made strong statements on peat reduction in its new 25-year environment plan, published in January.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES 2017

See our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. 

Garden Centre Prices

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles

Neville Stein

Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation

Read latest articles