Well as Locks in the City is an approved company of the MLA, we always try attend all MLA meetings, training where possible and expos. The expos take place every two years. So this year it took place 2nd,3rd and 4th of October in Telford. These are always good to attend for numerous reasons, one to meet other like minded individuals. Two to socialise and mix with other members of the MLA and suppliers and exhibitors.
Seeing new tools in action that are coming to market, as well picking up stock to replenish what we have used. Some great deals were to be had. Many of the big suppliers were in attendance exhibiting, though sadly most seemed to be demo’ing key machines.
I drove up on the Thursday afternoon, it was almost like a mini break away. I met up with fellow locksmith and friend Aspects Locksmiths from Bridlington. We met up at the hotel at around 9pm. We checked in and then catches up for some dinner and a well deserved beer. It was then off to bed at 11:30pm so that we were up fresh to attend the exhibition for 10am.
So we arrived at the exhibition centre for 09:30 and went got our badges. I had a few machines, and items to sell on the bring and buy sale. So we attended the stall and set up and manned the stall for hour or so. Other people had bought tools and stock to sell. So there was a mixed bag of stuff from safe scopes, locks and my key machines. It was interesting being behind a stall and watching people passing and browsing. I found it interesting to people watch and see them stop, stare and pick up stuff to examine or even barter. It was also interesting to stop and look at name badges to put faces to names of people you see regularly on forums etc.
The first day was ok and we sold x1 of the key machines to a fellow locksmith I know from the forums. I went to one of my preferred suppliers who was on the next stall to us and purchased a large amount of stock. Mainly cylinders and gearboxes for upvc doors. Also few handle and other odds and ends. Then off for a scout about and catch up with some of the other suppliers we deal with.
The expo ended at 5pm so it was back to the hotel to have a few beers and chill out and rest the worn out legs and feet as you are on them all day and do walk a fair milage. Might invest in a pedometer next time to see what you actually cover in steps. We’d all planned to go out into iron bridge to go for a meal and see some of the nightlife. We went to a pub and had a great meal and chat between ourselves. Talking about funny jobs and worst jobs that stuck in our minds. Also sharing tips between ourselves. We then walked down to a busy looking pub and once in there we bumped into a few other fellow locksmiths who had the same idea as us. It was a good night and we all had a laugh and then all headed back to the hotels by cab which took a while.
Saturday morning and it was up bright and early to go for breakfast and take in some fuel for the day. A lovely full english and couple cups of tea. We then made way to expo again another lovely day sun out and shinning. We collected a new badge for the day and then made way to the bring and buy stall to set it up again ready for the day. We prepped the stall and some bits sold fairly quickly as Saturday seemed to be the day most of the locksmiths attended or people related to the trade. Fair amount of interest in the machines and another two were sold. We also purchased some deadlocks there put there to be sold. Jeff Turner was on the stall also so we had a good chat and laugh as Jeff is quite the comedian as well as great locksmith. I could spend all day with him learning.
Danny my business partner arrived after driving up for the expo so another comedian was on the scene. We went had a scout about to purchase stock for our shop and vans. As we also had our new vans that we had only collected on the wednesday. We found a company locally who would rack out the back of the vans as well as lay a ply floor also. The company was only a few miles away which was handy. They agreed we could drop the vans in and they would do both. So Kinder followed us down and we left vans there headed back to the expo after stopping off for a daily dose of redbull. We all had a scout about picked up some other bits that some of suppliers had put out that wasn’t out on Friday. Then back to the stall where some items had been sold so we had a rearrange and adjust some of the pricing to see if that helped shift the remaining items.
The expo again ended at 5pm and as we had collected our vans earlier in the day as after 2.5 hours they were ready. When we got there we was really impressed with the workmanship and the quality of the units in the van. 18mm ply and all bolted in and all joints tenon joints so no fear of it rattling to pieces. So back to the hotel where we had couple beers and some light snacks before going to get ready to head out into town for a curry. We ordered 3 cabs to take us into Shrewsbury. We went to a nice bar where it was packed with people watching the rugby. We had a couple drinks and walked down to another pub that was a little quieter. We was all able to mingle and chat and have a laugh. We then all worked down to the curry house that Simon rated highly. We went there and on arrival we were all welcomed and taken to our seats and offered a drink whilst looking through the menu. The food in this place was amazing and everyone ate there meals and nothing went to waste. Definitely a place i’d go back to. We were there until 12am and then all jumped in taxis back to the hotel.
Off to bed we all went knowing it would be another early morning prepping for the last day of the expo. 8:30 it was down to reception for our last breakfast. We all had a good old fry up and tea, coffee and fruit juices to prep ourselves for another long day ahead. Danny had to drive back home for commitments. Myself and Kinder headed back to the show and prepped the bring and buy stall for the last day. I sold one of the main machines I was hoping to sell to another fellow locksmiths who is held in high regard. The last day was spent on the stall and talking to other fellow locksmiths new and old. The expo was to end at 3pm on the Sunday. So about 2pm we started to prepare to leave by collecting our stock and parts and loading in to the vans. We had a final walk around and said our goodbyes.
Now back in the van and start the long journey home expected to be 3-4 hours traffic dependant. In all it was a good weekend and fun had by all if not a little expensive but in this trade you need that time away. Now above may sound a little boring, but you live for weekends like that. Where you can socialise, eat and drink and not put your life on call for 24 hours.