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CLEAN ’09 Wrap-up

NEW ORLEANS – This year’s Clean Show in New Orleans saw a drop in attendee registration and exhibit square-footage.

Preliminary numbers from John Riddle & Associates, the show’s management company put this year’s attendee registration at approximately 10,200 in contrast to Clean ‘07’s attendance of 14,667. The New Orleans exhibit floor totaled 192,640 in contrast to the 2007 exhibit floor which totaled 227,950. But bigger isn’t always better.

“The comments we have heard from the vast majority of exhibitors were that Clean ’09 was a great show,” says John Riddle, president, Riddle & Associates, Clean Show Management.

“We warned them before the show that attendance would be down from previous shows, but they told us the quality of the attendees was excellent. They were able to spend more time talking with prospective buyers, and some said Clean ’09 was a better show for them than Clean ’07 in Las Vegas.”


Even though many exhibitors cut down on their booth space and staffing to curtail expenditures, all exhibitors put their space to maximum usage.

In response to the economy, two of the major exhibitors took a different path this year. G.A. Braun did not bring machinery to the show. However their booth was just as informative – and crowded - as previous years. Those who visited the G.A. Braun booth were treated to information on Braun’s machinery via numerous flat screen visual demonstrations and educational panels. The booth was staffed with knowledgeable Braun team members to help visitors navigate the area and answer any questions.

“We were favorably pleased with the booth activity that we had this year, and the level of interest and commitment that we saw from our client partners,” Joe Gudenburr, chief operating officer, Braun, said

To accommodate those individuals who could not make the show this year, Chicago Dryer Co. (Chicago®) set up a special section on the company Web site, Those who click on “Show Floor” are taken via a link to an interactive version of Chicago’s booth. Once there, visitors can view the equipment that Chicago had available in their Clean Show booth. By clicking on the equipment link, a new page opens featuring product information, photos and You Tube videos depicting the equipment in use during the show.

“Given economic conditions we knew that customers and potential customers may not have been able to attend the show,” says Carol Tyler, marketing director. “But we wanted to show them our equipment and let them experience the show if they couldn’t make it to New Orleans. It’s still available and we’re still posting to the site.”


Exhibitors were divided on their comments regarding this year’s show. Several requested that their names be withheld.

“Despite initial reports that attendance would be down for this year’s Clean Show, we decided to honor our commitment and stay with 5,000 square-feet of exhibit space. This enabled us to show a number of exciting new products that we believe to be ideally suited to the American Market. That turned out to be a good decision. Although overall attendance was down, the number of decision makers that came, particularly from The Americas, was not significantly lower than at other Clean shows. The number of European attendees has been declining steadily over the years and this year the Global Recession prevented all but a few Europeans from making the trip.”  - Simon Nield President Jensen USA

“For us it was beneficial, it met our needs. As a smaller company that doesn’t have a large sales force, it’s important for us to introduce our new products and connect with our  distributors on a personal basis so we can show them how the products work and how they apply to their markets. - JoBeth Riley Techni-Quip

“Everyone is saying that the attendance was down but the quality of people was good. However, you must consider the source. Everyone associated with sponsorship of the show tried to put that twist on attendance. Those who were not profiting from the show – were disappointed. We didn’t bring many machines and some others didn’t even bring any. You can go to the Internet for that type of information. Regardless, I can’t knock it because we did sell some machines. It would have been more damaging had we not been there so I guess it’s a necessary evil.” - Name withheld upon request

“As far as attendance is concerned we went into the show with low expectations, particularly as it pertains to the economy. But we were surprised by the turnout as it was somewhat better than our expectations. The last day of any CLEAN show is slow, but this time it was particularly slow for many customers left early because Sunday was Father’s Day. We saw a trend during the last two or three weeks before the show where more last minute attendees from the US decided to go. On the flip side we saw quite a few overseas customers canceling at the last minute. I suspect some of that was the Swine Flu scare and worries about being quarantined.

Was it beneficial? Like any trade show, you don’t really know for a few months till you’ve worked the leads. But all indications are that it will be a decent show for us.

Because of the economy we decided to go with a smaller booth and it showed us that we can do that in the future as it turned out to be acceptable. “ - Rick Kelly, Vice President Marketing & Sales Administration,  Pellerin Milnor

“I wasn’t overly optimistic in this economy and quite honestly, I thought it should be postponed for about a year. But who am I to say that? We normally get about 100 leads – but we only got 20. Some were positive. That’s a good thing but there wasn’t a lot of people looking at our system. Money is tight now - people don’t have a lot to spend.” - Name withheld upon request

“I’m glad they put that dead horse to bed.”  - Name withheld upon request


One thing everyone can agree on, however, is that the ‘green’ theme wove itself throughout the show -- a clear indication of the industry’s conservation concerns. Individual exhibitors highlighted green aspects of their products to attendees and the very well attended and informative educational sessions had many green themes.

This year there were forty-seven hours of classroom education scheduled during the four-day show – an expanded program over previous Clean shows. In addition to environmental/green classes, the educational sessions, “Look, Learn and Listen,” strove to offer solutions to current economic challenges.

“Education comes in many forms and we consider our tradeshow floor the largest interactive classroom in the industry,” says Riddle. “It only comes every two years and the opportunities at the Clean Show to ‘Look, Learn and Listen’ were numerous. There was something for every segment of the textile care industry.”

The Clean Show educational sessions were sponsored by the Association for Linen Management, American Reusable Textile Association, CINET and Textile Services Association Ltd., Coin Laundry Association, Canadian Cleaners & Launderers Allied Trades Assn., Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, European Textile Service Association, Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council, International Executive Housekeepers Assn., Textile Rental Services Assn. of America and Uniform & Textile Service Association.


Clean 2011 will be held in Las Vegas. The World Educational Congress for Laundering and Drycleaning, the show’s formal name, is sponsored by six industry associations. In addition to TRSA, sponsors are Association for Linen Management, Coin Laundry Association, Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, Textile Care Allied Trades Association and Uniform & Textile Service Association.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Textile Services Industry Gets National Spotlight

WILIMGTON, Mass. — Textile service executive Ronald Croatti recently appeared on the CBS-TV show “Undercover Boss.” Croatti is CEO of UniFirst Corp., in Wilmington, Mass. For most Americans watching “Undercover Boss” it was their first view inside a commercial laundry, which typically process between 10 million and 25 million pounds of uniforms, table linens, bed sheets, towels and more every year “The reusable textile services business is the original green industry,” said Ricci. “Commercial laundries reuse linen instead of filing landfills with disposable alternatives and continually discover new, innovative means to reduce energy consumption and recycle water. Our huge economies of scale allow laundries to use about two-thirds less water, energy and detergent than alternatives, such as washing at home, while hygienically cleaning textile products, improving disease control and reducing contamination.”