A total of 1,801 visitors attended this year’s PATS Sandown as the pet trade experienced two highly successful days of business activity. Retailers and buyers turned out in force to discover hundreds of new products being launched at the show.
“We were pleased with the high quality of visitors, which included independent pet retailers, the major pet chains, garden centres and international buyers,” said organiser Gordon Thomas.
Among those attending were representatives from Bents Garden & Home, Chessington Garden Centre, Dunelm, Dobbies, Fetch, Groupon, Jollyes, Knights Garden Centre, Mole Valley Farmers, National Trust, Orvis, Pets at Home, Pets Corner, Ruxley Manor Garden Centre, Scotsdales Garden Centre, TJX Europe, Webbs Garden Centre, and Wilko.
The New Product Showcase, sponsored by pbwnews, was a busy area throughout the event, and retailers admitted they were spoiled for choice as they decided on which items to stock in their stores for the year ahead.
“I’m always impressed with the PATS shows. I don’t want to miss any opportunities for finding new products,” said Claire Owens, of Imperial Pets, Chester. “The variety of stands is excellent, and I love the seminars that take place, as well as the New Product Showcase. It’s great to find out which products have won the PATS awards because I can then use this information to promote a product in store.”
Jenny Wiscombe, of Pug & Puffin, which has two shops in Lyme Regis and Bath, said: “PATS is a must-visit event. Where else can you come and find a high standard and great mix of pet products under one roof? It’s the perfect size, not overwhelming and yet so much to see.”
And Karen McCarthy, from It’s the Dogs, an independent store in West Molesey, Surrey, commented: “I enjoy going to PATS as it gives me a chance to look at all things dog related, and to make contact with potential suppliers – all under one roof at the same time. The Sandown show also provides an opportunity to meet and connect with suppliers.”
Julie Sandercock, director of Bodle Bros Ltd, West Sussex, said: “I visit a lot of trade shows during the year and I always find PATS to be the best. It’s a very engaging and friendly show with a great layout, and there’s always lots to see and do.”
The positive mood was echoed by exhibitors with Beco Pets co-founder Toby Massey admitting: “It was the10th anniversary show for PATS Sandown and it just keeps getting better. The number and quality of visitors to the Beco Lounge exceeded our expectations.”
PATS Sandown was the official trade launch for Slurps nutritional drinks for dogs, and Susan Gregory said: “We were very pleased with the trade reaction, and noted that many people visited us after seeing the information in the PATS Red Book and our products in the New Product Showcase.”
Another Sandown newcomer was Canaan Country, whose managing director Andy West said: “It was our first trade show for 20 years. We were pleasantly surprised by the interest we received and contacts made.”
A new addition to PATS Sandown this year was the Vital Grandstand, which proved very popular as director Sunny Sharma said: “We couldn’t be more pleased with the response. Turnout at the Vital Grandstand and our enlarged stand in the Surrey Hall was beyond expectations and we were delighted with the response from existing and prospective customers.”
Dogs for Good, who train assistance dogs for adults and children with physical disabilities, have been recognised as the chosen charity of PATS, and they were given a great reception at the show. As well as collecting donations from visitors and exhibitors, the charity were given items from the New Product Showcase to use as competition prizes at their many events.
Volunteers Stuart and Annie Rourke said: “Everyone has been marvellous. Lots of interest was shown in the work we do, and people were generous in giving money to the charity.”
PATS is now looking forward to its September showpiece at Telford International Centre, Shropshire, and already many companies have booked their stands.