Nicola Sturgeon praises grocers’ lifeline role in pandemic

IT is a multi-million pound sector which Glasgow has excelled in but the international conference sector was hit hard during the pandemic.

Ironically the last event that the Glasgow Convention Bureau worked on before lockdown was the UK Psychological Trauma conference, organised by the Glasgow Psychological Trauma Service on March 5 to 6, 2020.

However, now 18 months on Glasgow will be welcoming Scottish Grocers’ Federation Conference as first in-person convention during pandemic takes place in the city.

Read more: Fears Glasgow’s tall ship could be sunk by COP26 closure

Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza Hotel will welcome more than 400 delegates attending the annual conference of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation.

Taking place today and tomorrow, it represents the first in-person convention to be held in the city since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

The Scottish Grocers’ Federation is the authoritative voice of Scotland’s convenience retail trade; an industry which supports nearly 50,000 jobs and 5,000 stores across the country.

This year’s conference will feature a keynote address from Scotland’s First Minister as well as a packed programme which includes a trade exhibition, panel discussions and business sessions focussed on the key challenges facing the convenience sector.

Nicola Sturgeon said: “Our diverse and successful convenience sector plays an invaluable role in our economy and in communities across Scotland, particularly in marginalised, isolated and remote areas.
“The commitment the Scottish Grocers’ Federation and its members showed by going the extra mile during the pandemic was a crucial lifeline for the communities they serve.
“This conference represents the latest opportunity to strengthen the ongoing partnership between the federation and the Scottish Government, working towards shared goals in reaching net zero, supporting healthy diets, and growing our food and drink industry.”

Dr Pete Cheema OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation said: “Held over two days, our annual conference is a complete showcase event and we’re delighted to be back in Glasgow for it. It’s always been an opportunity for delegates to engage and there’s a strong focus on networking and developing business relationships, which is why we’re very excited that it will once again take place in person this year.

“The contribution our sector has made to Scotland throughout the course of a completely unprecedented public health crisis cannot be understated. Right across the country, local convenience stores have been a lifeline for many communities over the past 18 months.”

Glasgow enjoys a global reputation as a world-class and first choice destination for business events, and the return of physical conferences has also been welcomed by the city’s tourism and hospitality sector.

Jason Dombrower, General Manager of Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza Hotel said: “We’re honoured to be hosting the Scottish Grocers’ Federation Conference. The return of in-person conferences to Glasgow is hugely important to the city’s economic recovery and hopefully a sign of growing business confidence. I know Glasgow’s hotel community is looking forward to welcoming more delegates over the coming months and to getting back to supporting our clients with delivering successful and memorable events.”

Throughout the pandemic, Glasgow Convention Bureau, which is part of Glasgow Life, has championed a ‘Team Glasgow’ approach; working (virtually) throughout the various lockdowns with its members, ambassadors, and city and national partners to continue to win new conference business.

Since April last year, Glasgow has won 28 new conferences, worth £84m to the city’s economy, which will attract more than 36,000 delegates over future years.

Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life said: “Partnership working has never been more important to Glasgow and it’s reflected in the volume of new meetings the city has won over the past 18 months. Despite the impact of the pandemic, 17 conferences will take place in Glasgow before the end of the year, including COP26 which is the biggest business event Scotland has ever hosted.

“Welcoming the Scottish Grocers’ Federation this week marks the start of what is hopefully a return to some greater degree of normality for Glasgow’s conventions programme. Looking ahead the city has conference business on its books until 2027, which will inject nearly £250m into the local economy over the coming years.”

Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Bailie Philip Braat, will join Dr Cheema in cutting a ribbon to mark the official opening of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation Annual Conference at 10am today (Thursday 16 September).

Lord Provost of Glasgow, Bailie Philip Braat said: “It’s wonderful to be welcoming conference delegates back to Glasgow. It’s another positive step towards life after Covid and I hope all the attendees enjoy their time in the city and the opportunity to meet in-person again.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992