517 days later…

People, People who need people,
Are the luckiest people in the world

Last Wednesday and Thursday, 517 days, or 12,408 hours, after the last one was supposed to have opened, buying society NMBS finally got the Exhibition it had been waiting for. And, to be honest, it wasn’t just NMBS that was anxious to get the event up and running again. We’d all been waiting for too long to get back to some kind of normality.

This is a people industry and it was, quite frankly, bloody marvellous to be able to see everyone again. On their stands, at the coffee bar, in the queue for lunch, in the aisles and the car park. Aisles, incidentally, that, thanks to Covid, were a tad wider than they had been last time. Though that could also be said for a lot of things.

The two-day format seemed to work, although the wider aisles did mean NMBS was about 30 stands down on previous years. That didn’t seem to matter. The introduction of a more digitised order-placing format meant that the atmosphere was much more relaxed. There was no sense of trying to have a chat with a supplier whilst someone from merchant member was waving order sheets in your face, anxious to get the day’s Spot Deal price or extra rebate before it ran out.

So hats off to Chris, Andy, Sam, Nicola, Dean and all the rest of the NMBS team for pulling it off and taking us one giant step back towards where we all want to be.

Visitors took the opportunity to pre-place their orders, leaving them more time to chat to each other and to suppliers and to use the day to find out what suppliers were up to and how everyone was faring. It was…nice. Scrub that, it was amazing. We have missed this amount of interaction so much, yet at some points it felt like the last 18 months had never happened. We just picked up where we left off.

Welcome back merchant family. I’ve missed you. Roll on the next few months.


And, just because you can never have enough Banner and Loki:


About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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