Record-breaking NMBS Exhibition treats guests to top comedy performance

 27 Apr 2023

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Record merchant and supplier numbers and an appearance from comedian Michael McIntyre made for the NMBS Exhibition and Gala Dinner most successful year yet.

More than 280 exhibitors welcomed 558 independent merchant member companies and 1,084 visitors through the Coventry Building Society Arena doors on 19 and 20 April.

Celebrating its 60th anniversary year, NMBS hailed the success as confirmation that face-to-face events are back in business post-pandemic, and supply issues have dramatically improved after a difficult two years for the industry.

Chris Hayward, chief executive officer at NMBS, said:

“The 55th NMBS Exhibition was our most successful show yet, both for numbers and the strong sense of positivity for the coming year. There was a huge buzz around the sales opportunities for suppliers and the deals and offers available for merchants. With 282 exhibitors and 1000-plus delegates, we surpassed expectations for the event.”

The NMBS Exhibition is an unmissable opportunity for independent merchants and suppliers to come together to take advantage of deals, offers and networking opportunities. This year saw a record 120 spot buy deals for merchants across the two days, as well as a welcome return of the voucher book in hard copy format, offering merchants prize draws and giveaways for visiting supplier stands.

Meanwhile, the NMBS Exhibition App also returned and after some initial teething issues owing to sheer volume of users, it helped speed up the ordering process, collect member data and support commercial connections.

A number of suppliers commented on their success at the event. Laura Buzwell, national account director for Saint-Gobain Interior Solutions, said:

“We have had some really good engagement from members, lots of traction and we are just really impressed with the number of suppliers here as well as the number of merchants that have attended.”

Merchants attending the exhibition also reported that the NMBS Exhibition 2023 was a completely different experience compared to previous years. Many identified that moving to a two-day event meant they could take advantage of the deals and offers, before coming back to network and talk to suppliers in more depth.

Simon McElrea, commercial director for Terratruck Group, commented:

“This year’s show has been the best exhibition yet; the suppliers have upped their game with great interactive stands, and you could feel the buzz within the hall. This year’s special offers provided great savings and along with the additional exhibition rebate incentive the exhibition is the event that can’t be missed.”

The Coventry-based exhibition hall was a hive of colour and creativity. Fernco netted the event’s Stand of the Year prize thanks to its celebratory bottles of wine labelled with NMBS’s 60th Anniversary. Exhibitors showcased life-sized tools, darts, sweet treats, plus Werner’s retro games and an impressive F1 race care accompanying the Dewalt team. Exhibitors and members were also treated to free tea and coffee courtesy of sponsorship by new NMBS supplier E.Tupling.

Meanwhile, the NMBS Marketing Team were busy on the exhibition floor, creating social media content and capturing standout moments including former England international and football coach Peter Beardsley’s appearance at Artificialgrass on day two.

Remarking on the success as a whole, NMBS commercial director Andy Hextall said:

“The two days have been excellent. We have had great footfall come through the doors and it’s also been really consistently busy. The NMBS Exhibition is all about making new connections and engaging with suppliers and members, and the feedback we’ve had is that this year has been better than ever. Many of our new suppliers attending for the first time have also said they have been overwhelmed with the scale of the event, especially post-pandemic.”

Wrapping up the first day of the NMBS Exhibition, the organisation’s Gala Dinner celebrating 60 years of NMBS made a welcome return with a surprise appearance from comedian Michael McIntyre.

On the night, £5,000 was raised for construction charity Crash and the Rainy Day Trust, which supports those who have worked in the home improvement and enhancement industry and are experiencing difficulties. Xella’s Wayne Oldham also won an iPad in the charity donation prize draw.

The evening’s comedy highlight from McIntyre, whose appearance was sponsored by Makita, saw him twist the arms of NMBS CEO Chris Hayward and Makita’s Barry Smart to join him on stage with singing and dancing.

Chris Hayward added: “This year’s Gala Dinner was the first since the pandemic, and it really did prove that people relish the opportunity to build relationships both in and outside of the working environment. The entire NMBS team has done an amazing job bringing the two days to life and we are already looking forward to building a bigger and better exhibition in 2024.”

For more information about NMBS, or to become a supplier or member, visit:

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