Sheffield business expo is a huge success

Marisa Thompson, Director at Identity Merchandise, at the Sheffex event at Ponds Forge

Marisa Thompson, Director at Identity Merchandise, at the Sheffex event at Ponds Forge

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SheffEX, Sheffield’s first one-day business exhibition, was a sell-out success and triumph of keeping trade local.

The event at Ponds Forge sports centre featured 120 exhibitors, business speed dating, seminars and even massage. Some 1,500 visitors registered and dozens more walked in off the street.

At first, start-up businesswoman Marisa Thompson was going to be just a visitor - but then she picked up on the buzz about SheffEX, she says.

Then it “ got a bit louder” and she decided to take a reasonably priced stand at £200.

Two weeks ago the hype reached such a pitch she opted to pay double for a double stand, dwarfing those of many established businesses.

Marisa is director of Identity Merchandise, of Ecclesall Road, which launched six months ago.

At SheffEX she was clear she’d done the right thing.

She said: “It’s been non-stop. People have actually queued up to talk to me!”

It was organised by brothers Andrew and Mark McCormick and Tony Caroll, from a ‘standing start’.

No database of previous exhibitors or visitors, no corporate or public sector backing, everything from scratch.

Tony, whose day job is in ‘land and property’, said: “I think we are going to do it again. We’ve put in hundreds of hours since January. It’s not been easy, but it’s been okay.

“And the reaction across the board has been absolutely positive.”

The idea came to him two years ago after a visit to a similar show called Rotherham Means Business. Curiously, Doncaster has had a similar event for five years, but never Sheffield.