The Natural Stone Show 2013 Review
Three-day showcase exhibition for the UK stone industry
The Natural Stone Show is the only UK event to focus on natural stone and directly related products and services. Taking place in its proven biennial format at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London, this year’s show (which was held from 30 April–2 May) once again enjoyed the support of all of the key industry organizations, including the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Society of British Interior Design, English Heritage and Stone Federation Great Britain.
The Natural Stone Show is seen as a major platform for exhibitors to get their products and services into the worldwide markets, providing a ‘one-stop’ opportunity for companies to improve the profile of their businesses; network and meet new customers; launch, present or demonstrate products; find new agents/distributors; and research and exploit new markets.
Another key attraction of the exhibition is that it delivers the most relevant visitors within the marketplace, ranging from decision- makers within the stone industry, such as stonemasons, quarry operators and wholesalers, through to the industry’s customers (eg architects, conservationists, contractors, developers etc).
With around 200 exhibitors presenting more than 5,000 different materials from around the world, this year’s Natural Stone Show saw the most diverse collection of stone ever assembled under one roof in the UK.
In addition, as with previous shows, there was the Natural Stone & Building Conservation Conference, which has established itself as an important event in the stone industry calendar, bringing together all of those who have a keen interest in the design and use of stone as a building material.
The opening Architects’ Day of the conference enjoyed excellent attendance, as did the Industry Day (day two) which created much interest with a host of topics, such as CE Marking, being discussed. Likewise, the final day of the conference, on Stone Conservation, was well attended with numerous speakers discussing the efforts being made to safeguard the UK’s built heritage.
With British limestone, sandstone and slate playing a key role in the £3.5 billion conservation sector, it was no surprise to see a number of quarry companies promoting their full range of building and landscaping products at the show.
Among the regular exhibitors were Johnston Quarry Group, operators of Creeton Quarry, Oathill Quarry and Great Tew Ironstone Quarry. ‘Once again, we’ve had another highly successful and rewarding show,’ commented Nicolas Johnston, company owner. ‘We’ve seen a high level of interest on our stand and have some good- quality leads to follow up. All in all, I am confident we will pick up orders following the event.’
Mr Johnston also said he was extremely pleased with his company’s presence at the Natural Stone Show. ‘Despite the current economic situation, it is very important for us to be at the show,’ he commented. ‘It’s the only British exhibition promoting stone products and we, as a UK company, have to be here to fully support our stone industry and represent it in a positive light.’
Echoing these sentiments at the event was Michael Gorman, sales manager at Johnsons Wellfield. ‘As a member of Stone Federation Great Britain, we wanted to do our bit to promote the industry to the wider worldwide market,’ he explained. ‘We also happen to be the only Yorkshire-based operator at this year’s show, so it makes our presence even more significant because we’re not only showcasing our own natural York stone products, but also representing the region as a producer of this wonderful material.’
Another exhibitor who emphasized the importance of the Natural Stone Show was Black Mountain Quarries, as director Adrian Phillips explained: ‘The show is a significant event for everyone associated with the sector. Being here has given us the opportunity to maintain contact with our existing customers, namely London and South East-based architects, as well as meeting new clients. The quality of the visitors has been excellent, making this a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience.’