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I did write a huge screed on this last time, but nobody takes notice of me, the only guy in the UK to hold a HIGHLY successful exhibition and CONSISTANTLY draw 1200+ visitors

I remember it well Mick

I personally haven't attended the The Shoe Repair exhibition for many years, mainly because my business has seen less footwear repair work year by year.


General key cutting and vehicle keys is where 70% of my turnover/profit is, where as shoes give less that 20% turnover.


I attend LockEXpo and ALEXpo every year, they are both great events with a massive turnout from UK and international visitors.


In my opinion, combining Cutting Edge with locksmith exhibitions would be a huge leap forward, What number of visitors will a shoe repair show see in 5 to 10 years time, and how many exhibitors will be prepared to fund the units?


Looking back over the last 35 years, shoe repairing definitely isn't a future growth area in any business.

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it was one of the best laid out shows

That was Lockex Graham, Biggest aisles I've ever seen between units, even had to park a couple cars at the back to fill the space.


Exhibitors I spoke with on the Sunday reckon they'd struggle to break-even on the unit costs

They would be a fool to participate at another.

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This has been the ongoing problem for shows , there is simply too many of them now , when it was 1 show every 2 years or even 1 show a year and the show was the only place you got show discounts everyone saved up an investment pot to blow at the show , so lots of people spending alot of money , so exhibitors had profitable well attended shows . these days i wonder if anyone buys at full price anymore , with 2 to 3 shows and a large number of open days and open weekends now each year , it doesnt matter if you miss one as another will be along soon .

with so many annual shows and open days , those attending havnt had the time to save an investment pot as of old , cant afford to attend and spend at every show and open day , add to this the growth in the internet and theres weekly deals and vat free deals from most suppliers , making buying at a discounted rate far easier than ever before almost all year around.


supplier open days and open weekends tend to attract the best deals  , their best discounts are always reserved for their own show weekend , largely due to it costing far less to put this on than to attend a show .


also most suppliers have their show deals online as well these days so no need to attend the show to get the deal and those not attending often put better than show discounts online as they have no show stand and staffing and hotel costs .


so with so many shows and open days and online deals  , does anyone actually ever buy at full price anymore ? or is their really a full price any longer , are prices just inflated so they can be discounted so many times each year?


for me unless theres something i need or want thats not available online i weigh up loss of earnings vs saving  , my only incentive to attend a show these days is for the social element in the evening , as i can get the show discounts online or at the next show or event . between the internet and todays cut price culture , things have changed alot , not for the better in my opinion, a show used to be 2 to 3 day social event not to be missed.


what ive noticed over the years from working most shows on various stands , is many attend to get free training and demo , and to get a good night out on tiles , the amount that soak up free hands on and demo but dont buy are on the increase each year , as are those that use the shows for free info and training then buy in china , though now the china sellers attend some of our shows to and undercut their own uk distributors.

its not a fault of the shows , just the way things are these days sadly , so shows are no longer the event and just another event .


i was at lockex working and it was the quietest show ive ever attended , in fact i remember playing football in an empty aisle with a group of exhibitors as no one else in the room , it was a shame as it was one of the best laid out shows and a fantastic venue , it was just dead as a show on footfall and people buying , so just badly timed.

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I rely on company reps and shows to see the latest products, get information and receive product training.

It’s nice to get a deal now and then but that shouldn’t be the aim of an exhibition.


I think a lot of industries have gone too far the wrong way, reps only visit if they can get a sale, suppliers only do exhibitions if they can get sales.


I was talking to some people on the train down to Cutting Edge, they were visiting the NEC across the road where there was a games convention. I googled it out of interest, nearly 100,000 people were expected to attend over the weekend.

Nothing for sale, just product demonstrations.


If you want more people to attend CE, give them reason to.

Key suppliers, why not hold a 30 minute talk on this years new keys, recommended blanks for all the import locks we see.

Some of us have had trouble with the variance in UAP blanks. That could be solved in minutes with a talk on stage.

Demonstrate what your latest machines can do.


Material manufacturers, tell us about what’s new, explain the differences between your huge range of products.


Shoe care, have some demonstrations of what your products can do.


SOMSR, hold a talk about implications of running a shop, new rules, pensions, health and safety etc


A trade show should have talks/seminars otherwise I would wager that many people wander round, say hello to the people they know, collect some freebies and leave.


I went to CE to see people, there was no actual need or draw for me this year. I’ll still go next year as long as it isn’t too far away, but I do think it needs a change of format.

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Ahh utopia may exist but it doesn't. Reps- Who has them certainly in the lock industry they are few and far in between, and that relies on a rep being at your shop- Oh hang on 70% of locksmiths no longer have a shop, so chasing his van down the road then?

Manufacturers trade shows??? that's just a one sided sales pitch isn't it?

Talks and seminars- well I tried set it all up and it was so popular that it was cancelled 5 mins after it started as nobody turned up, I tried making a small charge and go a mouthful about ripping people off to show them how a product works and the exhibitor should do it for free- yes that is true. But who pays for the space used, the two Plasma screens I have the PA system I have the CCTV gear I have so that I can show you what the tech is doing under the seat or in the glove box, that unless you are the guy in front you cannot see. The deposit I have to pay anything up to 2 years in advance.

too many shows....only if they are all the same - which they are not. I could rent the Albert hall give away stands to attract others to pay for theirs, do deals and offer discounts all to get how many through the door? Oh don't forget a measure of bullshit.

So what you need to ask, and I think you cobbly people are better equipped for this as you probably cannot go door to door fixing shoes, engraving plates, or mending watches (or Bikes) WHAT SORT of show do you want- are you prepared to close for 1/2 a day to go to it, would you attend a seminar on polishing balls. Locksmiths can do a weekend mostly- ease of travel free parking and a half decent bar is what is needed, food at a reasonable price (difficult) and a good smattering of exhibitors- WHO need to be prepared to make eye contact with the locksmiths, to ask  'have you seen this' 'can I take a card and post you something' etc etc- standing with your arms folded and cry because you body language says FO is not going to make it a good show for you.

Exhibitions is not about renting a space filling it with tables,, charging varying prices of the same space or spouting bolix - consistancy and a well though out plan is what is needed, Then tell them, tell them again- How many times have I heard 'Oh I dinn't know the show was last weekend' which I am sure was the case with your cutting edge show.;

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well said mick   theres a  lot of negativity in this business  and  its seems that a lot of those who moan about the shows   are the ones who don't attend. bringing  two shows together is a great idea , ive always said that we should all go and have a few beer  the nnight before  alcohol being the great leveller?

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5 hours ago, petercoulson said:

Competition I believe won't be this year the earliest would be 2020 for the National in Coventry, we do have a smaller exhibition planned for Edinburgh 29th September

That's a shame but I suppose it's extra time to try new things :)

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