The past few weeks have seen UK Optics finally getting on board the strange and unexpected train that we’ve now come to know as 2020.

One of the industry’s institutions, the Norville Group, was broken up, placed in administration and then rescued by Inspecs (7 Days), all in the blink of an eye. In this uncertain climate, jobs being saved by the safe hands of Inspecs and the Hakim Group, which has acquired Norville Opticians, should be the take home message here. The Norville name is synonymous with optics in the UK, but I think even Frank Norville would be happy that his staff will remain employed, rather than the company’s legacy being allowed to fizzle out.

Talking of fizzling out, the institution that is Optrafair seems to be all but done and dusted following the cancellation of September’s event at the NEC (7 Days). For decades, the event has paved the way for companies like Norville to show their wares to the profession, so it’s sad to see it fall victim to the pandemic.

Not that the FMO seemed particularly sad about it. Optrafair’s legacy wasn’t even mentioned in the announcement that the organisation would be teaming up with Media 10 for 100% Optical next year. Given that the FMO was quick to issue a press release saying how sad it felt about Norville falling into administration, not to reference the event’s history at all seemed a little strange.

Strange is probably the best word to describe the new alliance between the unlikely bedfellows of FMO and Media 10, two parties that haven’t always seen eye to eye during the past seven years. Whatever the reasons for the agreement, that the industry can focus on one trade show can only be a good thing. With 100% Optical, Media 10 injected something new into the sector and forced Optrafair to up its game, so one can only hope that next January’s event doesn’t become another casualty of the
pandemic.