The alliance will see Independents Day move from the traditional July date, which it has occupied for the last 10 years, to the NEG calendar slot later in November.
The announcement was made yesterday at the NEG annual conference in Leicester (22–23 November) by PTR director, Nick Atkins (pictured left), and NEG’s director of business development, Phil Mullins (pictured right).
The format of the combined event is still under discussion. However, it is likely that NEG will run its free-to-attend members conference on Sunday 6 November, with Independents Day following on Monday 7 November. The venue will be the Birmingham Hilton Metropole.
Commenting on the announcement, Mr Atkins, said: “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with NEG to be joining forces in delivering a combined event that we are confident will provide even greater business support to the independent sector.”
Mr Atkins added: “With an increasingly crowded optical events calendar and four different events for the independent sector, PTR believes this is a sensible move for practices and industry alike.”
He explained: “There is only so much time owners can take out of their businesses every year and industry cannot be expected to continue to fund so many events through sponsor/exhibition fees. This coalition is good news all round.”
The NEG conference this week featured CET and business lectures, with seven CET points on offer at the event. For the first time, the annual gathering had a Sunday evening celebration with entertainment.
Mr Mullins told the 100 independent practitioners at the main conference yesterday that, as the largest purchasing group for independent opticians in the UK, the NEG believed in partnerships.
Mr Mullins said: “We strongly believe that building partnerships is the best way to support the important independent sector. It is with great enthusiasm that we embark on the new adventure with the PTR team to create a new combined event, bringing the best of Independents Day and the NEG Building for Success conference, to develop something that everyone connected with independent practice can benefit from.”