BETA International gives trade fresh impetus
Enterprising new exhibitors, established brands and consistently good quality buying meant BETA International 2009 sounded an optimistic note for the equestrian, country and pet trades.
Visitor numbers at the NEC, Birmingham, UK on 15-17 February were 4,542. The figure compares with 4,937 in 2008 and is independently verified by Audit Bureau Circulations (ABC) with no exhibitors or re-entries included.
ABC's auditors also confirmed that an additional 733 visits were made by individuals attending BETA International 2009 on more than one day, making a total of 5,275 visits.
BETA International 2009 marked the exhibition's 30th anniversary.
“The show has given the trade confidence and fresh impetus,” was how Peter Phillips of main sponsor Abbey Saddlery & Crafts summed up its buoyant atmosphere.
“We're all going home with more spring in our steps,” said Richard Dewey at Battles. And Matchmakers International's Neville Lawrence remarked on “an excellent show with fantastic footfall.”
“BETA International 2009 was alive with enthusiasm and enterprise for which all our exhibitors and visitors must take credit,” said Claire Thomas, commercial manager of BETA International organiser EMC. “The highly professional presentation of stands was especially commendable and as organisers, we are delighted to be able to reward exhibitors' efforts with strong attendance levels that are accurately and carefully audited.”
Among a strong contingent of first-time exhibitors was Scandinavian based Horze Finntack. “We've had a lot of orders and interest from the UK, Germany, Japan and Ireland,” said James Jacobs. “We're very glad we came.” At Ekkia SAS, winner of the Best Large Stand Award, Jean Francois Vignion described the French wholesaler's first appearance at BETA International as “a great success because we have met so many new buyers.”
American exhibitor Uncle Jimmy's Hangin' Balls had “the best day's trading since we launched the product,” according to Jim Urbanski who devised the brand almost three years ago.
BETA International 2009 retained its renowned feature areas such as the PONY and Horse&Rider Fashion Show, Kenilworth Press New Product Gallery, Horse&Hound Champagne and Seafood Bar and Dermoline Coffee Shop.
The Horseware Horse Demonstration Arena hosted fascinating twice-daily displays by the Thwaites Brewery Shire Horse Team plus a rolling programme of product sessions with live horses.
A series of business seminars, with John Ryan of Retail Week magazine among the speakers, proved popular with visiting retailers; as did the chance to ride BETA RoboCob, a mechanical horse. Young entrepreneurs and practical products came to the fore in the BETA International Innovation Awards, sponsored by Equestrian Trade News and judged by an independent panel of equestrian professionals.
BETA International covers every aspect of the equestrian trade. At LPD, exhibitors of horse friendly laundry equipment, Richard Carr said: “We feed off orders we get at this show all year.” Horsemart was one of several publications to be exhibiting. “It's been awesome,” said Jo Metcalfe. “We've been made to feel very welcome and the organisers have brought the right people here.”