The first hydroponics fair in Moscow, May 10-11, 2013

A success against all odds!

It could have been a total catastrophy. As you may know, Russian administration can be extremely meticulous about importing goods into Russia, and to start this a first event as this one, one has to be very thorough with client information and paperwork. For as much as they tried to be on top of the situation, the Hydroponeast Fair organizers were very close to not having a fair at all…

The day all exhibitors were supposed to put their booth together and get ready to receive their visitors, some of them had the very unpleasant surprise to see their goods weren’t there… were stuck in customs somewhere between Berlin and Moscow… with no prospect of receiving them on time for the opening. (It seems that, by grouping several companies for shipping, it was enough that only one paper was missing, to stop the whole container!). We even wondered at one stage if the fair would still happen… Of course, it was quite a setback, to which each company reacted its own way. And at the end of the day, most participants had fallen back onto their feet, either gathering the few products they had in some of the Moscow shops, or quickly printing the most important parts of their catalogs in order not to loose it all, and still make new contacts and leave trace of their passage.

We were around 25 exhibitors coming from Holland, France, Germany, India, Spain, Belgium, the USA, and of course from Russia. And a wide range of products were exhibited: nutrients and hydroponic systems from Western Europe and Russia, also substrates, lighting, ventilation, CO2 controls, and grow tents. Everything you need for modern home gardening or greenhouse operations of all sizes.

Although not many, there were more visitors than we expected… it is hard to say such a thing, but it is true. It was one of Russia’s most important holidays! Fifteen days non stop starting on May 1st (Spring and Labor Day), through May 9th, (Victory Day), until May 12th (Russia Day). Of course, most Russians were still in their “datchas” (country-houses) with families and friends, and those who remained in town were in the streets, playing music, dancing, singing, or watching the huge military parades that crossed the city endlessly. Most of all, the weather was gorgeous and Moscow parks and rivers were irresistible in the warm spring sun. Although the fair entrance was free, there had to be much more incentive to convince people to visit our fair. And that would be “interest and motivation”.

So the turn over wasn’t exactly as high as it could have been. But as they say, it is not the quantity that matters, when you have quality: all visitors were passionate hydroponics professionals or amateurs, with hunger of knowledge and curiosity for all the new possibilities and ideas that most of us were bringing them. Among the exhibitors was the Spanish based Mama Publishing, offering their newly printed Russian edition of William Texier’s book on hydroponics “Hydroponics for Everybody”. Their whole inventory was sold in less than 2 hours! More than in any other exhibition they had ever attended. The next day, during William’s conference, the room was packed with a very diversified crowd asking lots of questions, making suggestions and comments, showing that some of them knew more than one would have expected, and were eager to share and compare.

The organizers claim they had 1500 persons coming mainly from Moscow region, but also Saint Petersburg, Perm, and several other cities in the Commonwealth of Independent States, as they call them today. Visitors also came from surrounding countries like Ukraine, Kazakstan, Armenia, West Siberia, and more. We even had the pleasure to meet Era, a new player in the industry, from Ulan Baator, Mongolia! The family is growing!

There will obviously be a next year fair in Russia. Already companies are registered, which shows that in spite of the first day’s problems, everybody was happy and Hydroponeast did a good job after all.