Thousands attend busy weekend at Optrafair
Author: Joe Ayling
Optrafair attracted 7,122 visitors last weekend to visit the exhibition and gain education points.
FMO chair Andy Yorke and chief executive Bryony Pawinska (pictured) cut the ribbon to open the show, held at the Birmingham NEC from April 1-3.
This year's show saw a buzzing bar celebrating the FMO's centenary, and new features including trend forecasting, window dressing, a boutique frames area, and a business theatre.
Exhibitors covered the full spectrum of optical manufacturing, distribution and supply, including equipment and instruments, lenses and contact lenses, glazing and finishing labs, and providers of business services for optical practices.
Pawinska said: ‘This was the first Optrafair show for which Mark Allen Exhibitions had a full year's planning cycle, having taken on the event management mid-way through planning for the 2016 show, and I am delighted at the vibrancy of the new show format.
‘The centenary bar area worked particularly well as a busy central focus and comments from exhibitors and visitors alike have been overwhelmingly positive, with huge loyalty to Optrafair as the sector's own show and praise for the professionalism of the Mark Allen team. The exceptional rebooking numbers reflect exhibitors' satisfaction with the revolutionised Optrafair.’
The show also saw the retirement of former FMO chair and CEO Malcolm Polley, and the occasion was marked with a special cake presented to him at the centenary bar on Saturday.
Optrafair has been running since 1978, owned by the FMO and managed since 2016 by Mark Allen Exhibitions.
Three quarters of exhibitors have rebooked for next year's event, also in Birmingham.