The NMBS Exhibition made a “triumphant return” to Coventry this month as hundreds of merchants and suppliers gathered at the first major industry event to take since the start of the pandemic.
On 8th and 9th September 2021, the NMBS Exhibition brought together representatives from businesses across the merchant industry at the Coventry Building Society Arena (previously known as the Ricoh). More than 280 exhibitors and almost 800 delegates attended the exhibition to network with industry colleagues, place orders and take advantage of hundreds of spot-buy deals and exclusive show rebates.
The mood at the exhibition was described as upbeat despite the supply challenges currently facing the industry, with everyone “delighted at being able to re-connect with friends and colleagues that many hadn’t seen in person since early 2020”. The exhibition also gave people the chance to meet contacts face-to-face for the first time, many of whom they have previously only worked with through virtual meetings.
Usually a single-day event, this year’s exhibition was held over two days for the first time in its history, to make it as Covid-secure as possible and give members and suppliers every opportunity to attend. NMBS also moved to an electronic ordering process for the first time at the Exhibition, using a specially developed App to allow suppliers to scan member badges and confirm orders, helping to streamline the process and reducing the need to exchange paper documents.
Suppliers in all sectors took the opportunity to offer visitors exclusive previews and practical demonstrations of new products that will be made available later this year, and to highlight key ranges that were launched during the past 18 months, but which they haven’t before been able to promote at an industry event.
Many exhibitors also enhanced their stands with fun and light-hearted attractions as well as examples of their latest products. Highlights included the Artificial Grass stand, where former England footballer Chris Waddle was on hand on the Wednesday to meet fans and give away signed footballs. The Ox Tools stand was also a popular destination, where visitors could watch a fascinating sand sculpture of Superman hovering over a mini-Metropolis take shape over the two days.
HIKOKI was chosen as the winner of the Best Stand in Show award, after creating an eye-catching and industrial-themed display of their high-performance mains and cordless power tools.
Andy Hextall, Commercial Director of NMBS, said: “We were thrilled to be able to host the NMBS Exhibition again after having had to postpone it in 2020. The Exhibition is a key annual event for the Independent sector, and a place where Suppliers and Members can maximise their opportunities to network and source new opportunities to grow and develop their businesses.
“It was brilliant to be able to meet with so many people who we have missed during the pandemic, and I would also like to say a huge thank you and well done to Sam Hunt and the entire NMBS team, who have worked tirelessly over recent months to make sure we could hold the exhibition in the safest and most Covid-secure way possible.”