The Independents Day (iDay) business conference this week (July 5–6) attracted 188 delegates over the two days, with 180 delegates and exhibiters attending the 10th anniversary gala dinner held to celebrate the landmark event.
The symposium at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole had the theme Niches for Riches, supplementary services for happy patients and healthy profits. The keynote speaker was former US optometrist and practice owner, Dr Gary Gerber (pictured), who gave the presentation, How to avoid drowning in a sea of sameness.
The conference featured 14 lecture sessions in total, as well as a separate track for practice support staff and nine workshops, plus an exhibition (iShow).
The event’s organisers, Proven Track Record (PTR), celebrated the milestone symposium with ‘iNight,’ which recognised with awards, companies and individuals who have consistently supported the event over the past 10 years.
Dr Gerber surprised the audience with an unexpected mentalist show, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, to round the evening off.
PTR director and programme curator, Nick Atkins, said: “We are delighted that, despite our symposium now coming at the end of a frenetic run of optical events in the first half of this year, we managed a slight increase in delegate numbers over the two days compared to last year.”
He added: “There is only so much time that practitioners can take out of their business, so we are extremely grateful that our colleagues appreciate our efforts and value the programme we put together on behalf of the sector enough to continue to support the event with their attendance.”
Fellow PTR director, David Goad, said: “We are also delighted and thankful for the support of the industry. There are clearly too many shows in the optical calendar now and so to have had to add a couple of additional stands in order to accommodate some late demand for exhibitions is an exceptional response.”
Mr Goad concluded: “The iShow looked busy all day and I’m sure that our exhibitors’ businesses will have benefitted from showing their ongoing commitment for the independent sector with their attendance.”