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Fighting Your Corner


Lawrence Cutler, Director of the SDEA, discusses the company’s long-standing dedication providing the best possible service for the shopfittings and displays industry.


A1:How has the work done by the SDEA changed over the years?


Lawrence Cutler:The way we work has altered, but the principle of offering member companies services that help them become more successful remains. We bring companies business through networking opportunities, the annual Directory, the website’s search facility, our telephone Infoline and emailed sales leads. We also market the Association to retailers as an independent product source at exhibitions and through the printed media.


A1:What was the SDEA’s biggest challenge to date?


LC:The biggest challenge I remember was during the 3-day week in the 1970s. In those days we ran our own exhibition and the income subsidised subscriptions. The 3-day week meant no lighting for two days, and there was


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also a national rail strike. We advertised in several national papers confirming the show was on, but our visitorship was decimated. This has been our biggest ever show, but the damage was done and the show shrank over the years until 1977. We were able to sell the show to a professional organiser, securing commission on future shows as long as our members continued to support it – which they did.


A1:How important is the work of the SDEA for the industry?


LC:I think every industry should have a body fighting on its behalf. I don’t mean lobbying Members of Parliament, although we’ve done that when we’ve needed to, but raising the profile of the shopfittings and display industry. A lot of what we do is behind the scenes, doing deals to save our members money and actively promoting the industry.


A1:What should we expect from the SDEA in the future?


LC:Now there’s a good question! As we come out of recession there will be more opportunities as retailers realise the need to revitalise their stores to move forward. We need to be geared up to make sure SDEA members are the ones to benefit.


Contact


SDEA T: +44 (0)1883 348911 W: www.shopdisplay.org


www.a1retailmagazine.com


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