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Totally DIY gets off to a flying start

The 19th annual Totally DIY and Totally Tools show opened its doors, swapping those of the NEC for the Ricoh Arena, Coventry, yesterday, drawing exhibitors old and new, hundreds of visitors and a wealth of industry support.

Although still early in the show's three-day duration, exhibitors enjoyed a steady stream of visitors throughout Sunday morning, only tapering slightly during the afternoon. Despite adverse weather, the show opened with a vibrant sense of business being done, and delegates were particularly impressed with the show's accessibility, organisation and free lunch.

Independent retailers and builders merchants made up a significant portion of Sunday's crowds, and exhibitors commented on the high quality of visitors to their stands. For Active Products, it marked the first time back at Totally in years. "We decided to exhibit again because we have two exciting new products to launch," explained national sales and marketing manager Neil Mcloughlin from the AP stand on Sunday. "We've had a lot of early interest, a lot of builders merchants in particular on stand."

Everbuild, too, made a reappearance at the show after a year's absence, and business development manager Stuart Kelly was pleased with the show's start. "We've had a very busy start," he told DIY Week, "We've seen a lot of our existing clients and a few new faces, mainly independents but a few buying groups too. It's a great opportunity for networking."

For Rustins, the new venue provided a big boost on day one. "The venue is so much better than the NEC," consultancy manager Peter Jackson told DIY Week. "Last year, out in hall 16, we felt a bit like lepers! But we've seen a lot of people on stand this year and although it is weather dependent, we've had a really good start."

Another very happy exhibitor was LadderLimb, which not only brought in multiple orders within just a few hours of day one, but was also awarded Gold in the New Products Awards' tool category. "We've had a fantastic first day," said managing director Alistair Taylor, "we've had loads of new orders and just signed up a new client from Malta! It's a great venue, really easy to get to and we're very hopeful about coming back next year.

"If the next two days go as well as today, we'll be very happy."

Yale was also pleased with the high quality of visitors to its stand. Head of marketing David Herbert said: "We've seen some really key customers here, a lot of independents on day one and we're expecting more multiples tomorrow. It's very important for Yale to have a presence here, to explain to people what we do - it's not just about locks!

"This year's show has been really well organised, we're enjoying being more of a focal point."

Stanley, too, expressed praise for the show, and said that while a lot of the big brands were notable by their absence, it did not discredit the show. "I think their absence is felt, but not because they are the most important companies," explained head of sales Carl Kane, "it's more because of the demand on retailers today. They have to take time out of their diaries to come here.

"We've had a very busy stand today: a lot of the draw to the show I think has been curiosity. The venue is great, the food was fantastic and I think it was a really nice touch introducing the free lunch."

"The new product showcase has been a great feature," added account manager Paul Roberts. "The whole show's organisation has been really great. Set-up went very smoothly compared with the NEC, staff have been really helpful and all in all we're very hopeful for the next few days."

Source: DIY Week

12 February 2013
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