Pet retailers braved strong winds and heavy rain to ensure that PATS Sandown got off to a successful start as Storm Ciara battered the UK today (February 9).
As the country suffered the effects of flooding, disruption to travel and power cuts, the pet industry still turned out in force on the first day of the show.
It is the second year the event has taken place on a Sunday and Monday in February, and despite the unusual weather both exhibitors and visitors gave the exhibition a huge thumbs up.
Carina Evans, of Podium Pet Supplies, summed up the mood of exhibitors when she said: “If people needed proof that PATS Sandown is a not-to-be-missed event then they got it on the opening day. The UK pet industry showed real British Bulldog spirit to make sure it was a success.”
John James, of James & Steel, echoed those comments, saying: “Considering the bad weather, I have been pleasantly surprised with the way things have gone so far. Our stand was very busy as the doors opened.” And Elan Mansur, of Long Paws, added: “To be honest I was a little concerned about the weather affecting attendance but I needn’t have worried. It has been a great start.”
We.pet is an independent pet wholesaler launching at the show and director Robert Frost was delighted with the response from visitors. “We’ve had some very positive feedback and generated some quality leads,” he said.
Another first-time exhibitor, Natural Dog Food Direct, also experienced a good start to the show. The company’s Craig Ewing said: “Already it has been a great experience. There have been times when we’ve been mobbed and there are six of us on the stand, so that’s saying something, especially with it being ‘big coat’ weather outside.”
The first day of the show also got the thumbs-up from visiting retailers.
Andy Sheppard, of Rangebourne Pet Care, Devizes, Wiltshire, said: “I have attended every PATS Sandown and I wouldn’t miss it. I love the venue and I love the show, and the bad weather wouldn’t put me off coming. It has everything I need all under one roof. It’s just brilliant.”
And Diane Snell, who is setting up a pet retail boutique and dog grooming parlour in Dartford, Kent, commented: “I was determined to come despite the weather because this show is perfect for sourcing new products and ideas.”
Billy Matlock, of Anas Pet ‘N’ Tack store, Hindhead, Surrey, agreed: “PATS Sandown is worth visiting for all the new products on display. It’s also a good networking event where retailers and suppliers can share ideas.”
The second day of the show opens at 9.30am on Monday (February 10).