...As members flocked to hear the real story about Totally DIY's venue change, how Screwfix are flourishing in a struggling climate with a new store opening every 10 days, and how garden watering supplier Hozelock weathered a hosepipe ban, followed by sales-drenching floods.
Despite a particularly wet Wednesday, 70 BHETA members flocked to the British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) open DIY forum in Birmingham this week, a record-breaking number according to executive director for the DIY sector Peter Stone. He said: "The Forum provided clear evidence of the huge progress that BHETA has made over the past couple of years - not just by the size of the turnout (a "recent record" turnout of some 70 attendees) but also by the level of engagement of those present.
"I believe that the DIY membership now believes that they have a trade association that is very clearly, and solely, focused on supporting them in the right way and adding value to their business."
Delegates enjoyed hearing from guest speakers, including Brintex Events' Paul Grinsell, who gave a full account of the whys and the hows behind Totally DIY's 2013 venue change
to the Ricoh Arena. The audience was taken through every aspect of the decision - from the initial booking of the same hall 16 at the NEC to the question of whether the country even needed a DIY trade show.
Up next was 'Uni-Link', a discussion given by the University of Birmingham's Chris Tullett on how business and universities can become closer and work towards a successful future together.
A painfully honest account of how a weather-reliant garden watering supplier marketed and sold its watering wares, despite a widespread hosepipe ban in its highest-spending consumer region, was given by Hozelock's director of sales Richard Carr. Interesting points raised included the increasing 'theatre' offering from garden centres, meaning those who offer their consumers a day out as opposed to just a shopping trip. Mr Carr explained plans to improve Hozelock's face within shops by incorporating an aspect of this 'theatre' in its POS.
Headlining the forum was Screwfix head of buying Andy Gault, who took delegates through the rise and rise of the Screwfix catalogue, plans for several more store openings this year, and the perfect attributes of a Screwfix supplier.
The forum was closed with an address by Andrew Weiss, former president at BHETA, who revealed this would be his last forum.
· For a detailed account of the latest BHETA DIY forum and its speakers, see the July 27 issue of DIY Week