RETAILERS from across Scotland and the north of England gathered at Glasgow’s Hampden Park for the 2019 JW Filshill Trade Exhibition to take advantage of exclusive one-day offers, retail trade seminars, opportunities to meet suppliers and share ideas with other retailers.

The Trade Exhibition, Filshill’s biggest to date, attracted over 80 KeyStore retailers and 60 suppliers – many of them attending for the first time. Several on-trade customers also attended the event.

Craig Brown, retail sales director at the Glasgow-based delivered wholesaler, said: “This has been our most successful trade exhibition and we were delighted that so many customers saw the value in taking time out of their businesses to see what’s new, talk to our suppliers and spend time with other retailers.

“Events like this are important because they showcase what we’re doing, give retailers access to special offers not available at other times but crucially provide a platform for them to meet and network with new and existing contacts.

“For suppliers, the Trade Exhibition provides an opportunity to meet retailers they might not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with and build relationships.”

Lloyd Winterbottom, a KeyStore customer from West Yorkshire, was attending his first Filshill Trade Exhibition. “It was really useful to meet other KeyStore retailers and hear about some of the interesting concepts they’re developing in their stores,” he said. “I also took the opportunity to learn more about the Filshill business and had a tour of head office and the depot.

“KeyStore is really helping me grow my business and the support I get from the Filshill team based in the north of England has been invaluable.”

Burntisland-based Adeel Ahmed, a KeyStore Express retailer, described taking a day out of his business to attend the event at Hampden as “extremely worthwhile”. He said: “It’s good to get away from the shop and meet suppliers and other retailers – it gives you ideas and makes you think about your business and how you can improve it.”

Trade seminars covering training, food to go and vaping were well attended by retailers. Tom Fender, managing director of Paisley based Bolt Learning, spoke about the benefits of online training for convenience stores while Gary Routledge, national business manager at JUUL Labs, discussed the growing importance of the vaping category and how retailers can capitalise on its growth in the future. JUUL has entered an exclusive partnership with Filshill to develop the category.

Food to go and how this category can help c-stores create a point of difference saw Steve Appolinari, sales director of Fife Creamery, outline recent developments at the Fife-based chilled foods supplier. He told retailers that not only will food to go attract customers, it will lead to an increase in turnover.

Earlier this year, Fife Creamery and Filshill, in partnership with Bord Bai, the Irish Food Board, hosted a study tour to Dublin to look at new innovations in food to go. “Ignore food to go at your peril,” said Appolinari. “Retailers need to diversify and food to go is definitely one of the most profitable categories in convenience. It will continue to grow and you need to be involved.”

Chris Johnston, owner of KeyStore Corseford in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, was one of the six retailers who travelled to Ireland. “It gave me a fascinating insight into what’s possible in food to go,” he said, “and has inspired me to make changes in my store. Hearing Steve speak today at Hampden will hopefully inspire other KeyStore retailers to do the same.”

At soft drinks firm AG Barr, Ian Johnstone, Scotland impulse sales controller, said that Filshill was “ahead of the curve” in its approach to working with suppliers. “Events like this are extremely important to us because they give us access to some of the most progressive convenience retailers in the country,” he said.

“You have to work in partnership in this industry and a trade exhibition at an inspirational venue such as Hampden Park provides a great platform for networking, making new relationships and building on existing ones.”

Retailers were also given an insight into how the deposit return scheme (DRS) will look when it is introduced in Scotland. TOMRA, the global leader in reverse vending, had machines at Hampden to show retailers how they operate and answer questions ahead of the Scottish Government’s introduction of a deposit return scheme for empty drinks containers.

Filshill is currently participating in trials via a collaboration between the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF), RVM manufacturer Envipco and recycling company Viridor.

Suppliers donated surplus stock to Clydebank Foodbank, with leading Filshill customer Clydebank Co-op coordinating the uplift and delivery of product.

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