Glee 2021 recap

Featuring more than 300 brands, 125 of which were brand new to the show this year, the long-anticipated return of Glee – the UK’s key trade event for garden and outdoor living – as an in-person event was positively received from all corners of the retail sector: from traditional garden centers, DIY Stores and farm shops to high street retailers, department stores, builders’ merchants and thriving e-commerce sites. 

As the first occasion since 2019, when so many gardening brands and retailers could meet face to face under one roof, it wasn’t surprising that Glee opened its doors on September 14 to a large and eager crowd, who helped create “the busiest start to Glee ever” for many exhibitors. The show provided an essential hub for educational business content and future trends; also hosting a number of prestigious industry award ceremonies to celebrate the best of garden center retailing and the most innovative and exciting new products launched over the past 24 months. 

Buyers flocked to the NEC, raring to go and ready to meet their regular suppliers, source new product solutions and place those all-important trade orders at Glee. The ability to touch and feel products in person – something that’s been sorely missed over the past two years – brought a fantastic buzz to the busy show, which lasted for the full three days.

Among the many show highlights, British Garden Centers was voted Garden Retailer Buying Team of the Year (six stores or more) and Aylett Nurseries was named Overall Independent Garden Centre Buying Team of the Year (up to five stores) in this year’s Buyer’s Power List Awards; Pot-mate was awarded this year’s GIMA Innovator’s Seed Corn Fund; Hills Plants scooped the Best Glee Green Heart Display award; and 19 fantastic new garden and pet products were named winners of the coveted Glee New Product Showcase.