As the first dedicated garden retail exhibition to make its in-person return post-lockdown, Glee (14th – 16th September, NEC Birmingham) has an important role to play. From networking and educating, to inspiring retailers and suppliers alike, this year’s event will be a highly anticipated showcase of the newest and most exciting innovations that the garden sector has to offer ahead of the 2022 season.
Retailers support the return of Glee 2021
During lockdown, garden retailers focused on running their businesses according to strict Covid-secure guidelines and, in many cases, the task of buying and sourcing innovation and trend-led ranges for the season ahead has been put on the back burner. However, with the country opening up and demand for gardening products remaining higher than ever, buying teams are being charged with finding exciting and innovative new products to entice consumers and encourage loyalty amongst this new, bigger gardening army.
Glee has long been recognised and praised for its ability to bring hundreds of new and emerging brands together, creating an unrivalled showcase for category growth. This year will be no different, with Glee providing the backdrop for the most new products under one roof within the last 18 months – the prospect of which will be music to the ears of many retailers who have felt the absence of this live event, including Justin Williams, from the GCA Garden Centre of the Year, Fron Goch. He said: “I believe trade shows are a crucial part in the sourcing of new suppliers and new products and, with such a buoyant market at the moment, hopefully, our sector is ripe for product development and investment to deliver new products. Lockdowns and Coronavirus have been a very isolating and a lonely period for so many of us. Trade shows provide a great opportunity to see friends and industry colleagues and enable some very valuable discussions. I very much look forward to their return.”
Justin’s sentiments were echoed by Adam Wigglesworth of Aylett Nurseries, who said: “Subject to all things Covid, we are immensely looking forward to getting back to Glee. We look forward to catching up with suppliers who have done an amazing job and finding new and exciting products to bring to our customers old and new. Fingers crossed for a return to some sort of normality by then. Choosing ranges over zoom is ok but not ideal!”
Exhibitors confirm big plans for Glee 2021
It’s not just retailers that are looking forward to the return of in-person events; exhibitors from across Glee’s eight product sectors are raring to go. Whilst the pressures of the pandemic have forced suppliers to work differently, for many, new product development continued at pace. Reacting to consumer demand, suppliers are expected to bring to market products with a defined sustainability ethos, products that make life easier for gardeners, including high-tech innovations, plus latest design updates to core, volume-driven categories, including pots and planters, growing media, and expanded gifting ranges.
Exhibitors confirmed for Glee 2021 include returning brands, such as Hozelock, Ivyline, Woodlodge, DLF Seeds, Zest 4 Leisure, Taylors Bulbs, Traeger Grills, The Solar Centre, Seedball, Durston Garden Products, Fallen Fruits, Burgon & Ball, Deco-Pak, Creative Products, Meadow View Stone, Kaemingk, Jardinopia, Laurica Plants and Primeur. New exhibitors joining the roster in 2021 will include Goodchaps, Collarways, Leon Boots, The Edible Gang, Teal International, Black & Stainless-Steel Creative Metalworks and George Rye & Sons.
One brand that is already deep into its Glee planning is Woodlodge. The principal pot supplier will be returning to Glee with an even bigger stand and a stunning showcase of its four market-leading ranges, including the recently launched Honey & Wild garden décor offering, and the Down to Earth accessories collection. A Woodlodge spokesperson said: “Glee is a hugely vital part of our marketing mix, so there was no question that we would be back once the in-person event was confirmed. We have big plans for this year’s exhibition, including a number of new product launches which we have every confidence will generate conversation and sales amongst our retail customers. It’s good to be back!”
A safe and secure return
The Glee team acknowledge that the positivity surrounding the exhibition’s return is only possible thanks to the ongoing work that is being undertaken behind the scenes to ensure that Glee can throw open its doors safely and securely. Matthew Mein, Glee Event Director explains. He said: “Whilst many of our retailers have remarked that being at the coalface throughout Covid has meant that they are more than comfortable with returning to live events, we appreciate that this is not the case for everyone. I’d like to take this opportunity to reassure everyone that we are going above and beyond to ensure that we will be reopening Glee as safely and securely as possible.
“We are working closely in consultation with the NEC, and the AEO (Association of Event Organisers) in order to confirm that we work within the government guidelines for reopening and will continue to revise these guidelines as the September timeline approaches. The health and safety of everyone involved with Glee – from the stand builders to exhibitors, from visitors to our own Glee team and everyone in between – is our number one priority.
“Everyone is able to access our Safe and Secure guidelines, which covers everything from pre-event to onsite guidance regarding hygiene, stand activity and venue facilities, and advice for a safe end to the show include breakdown and track and trace. All this info is accessible via www.gleebirmingham.com/the-community/safe-secure. The team also remain available to discuss all elements of our reopening plans with the Glee community.
“For now, it just leaves me to say how pleased we are to bring the industry back together under one roof for the first time since 2019. The continued support of the sector has been incredible, and it’s so great to be in conversation with retailers and exhibitors regarding their intentions for the event. As always, the team and I will be working tirelessly to build an exhibition that works hard, inspires and educates. We can’t wait to see you all in September.”
Find out more
To keep up to date on the latest Glee news visit www.gleebirmingham.com. To enquire about exhibiting at Glee 2020 call +44 (0)203 3545 9752.