LAS VEGAS — Clean Show 2011 drew 11,200 attendees June 6-9 and garnered positive reviews from many exhibitors. The press release headline from Riddle & Associates, the show’s longtime manager, was positively glowing: “Clean 2011 Acclaimed Best Show in Years.”
“Almost everyone we talked with—both attendees and exhibitors—had nothing but positive comments about the show,” says John Riddle, president of Riddle & Associates. “Based on exhibitor comments, people really came ready to buy.”
Clean 2011 Chairman David Cotter, CEO of the Textile Care Allied Trades Association, spent much of the show walking the floor and speaking with exhibitors.
“The feedback I received was nearly unanimous,” he says. “A consistent theme running through these comments was the high-level quality attendees and their readiness to purchase.”
The attendance reflected a 13% increase over Clean ’09 in New Orleans. The number of exhibiting companies (430) was up more than 4%, and total exhibit space of roughly 184,150 net square feet was within about 4% of the New Orleans show.
WALKING THE FLOOR
Trying to take in all 430 exhibits and make note of new items, even over the course of four days, was quite a chore. Watch American Coin-Op and AmericanCoinOp.com throughout the year for new-product updates, but here are just a few things that were eye-catching:
Speed Queen and Huebsch introduced new 125-pound vended washer-extractors.
Several companies, including ESD, Card Concepts Inc., WashCard Systems, Setomatic Systems, Standard Change-Makers and Heartland MicroPayments, presented new or improved cashless payment systems.
LG announced the launch of a new family of coin, card and on-premise washers and dryers.
R&B Wire Products introduced a line of recycled poly trucks.
Maytag featured a new, high-efficiency stack washer/dryer and a front-load pair.
IN THE CLASSROOM
Educational sessions targeting self-service laundry owners and operators drew large crowds. They touched on a variety of subjects, including marketing, financing, water conservation and more.
Seated in cozy chairs, Coin Laundry Association Executive Director Brian Wallace and three store owners could have been conversing about e-marketing in an office or conference room, but the hall full of attendees had the opportunity to “eavesdrop” on them during Upfront and Online: Leading Store Owners Discuss E-Marketing.
Having store websites has been a valuable marketing tool for all three owners. Louise Messano, owner of three Texas laundries, called her website “the first window to see inside my store.”
Tom Rhodes, a second-generation laundry owner who has eight stores in Florida, uses his website to direct customers to his stores, but he also markets using English and Spanish video testimonials.
Social media such as Facebook is a growing phenomenon that Wallace called “the new word of mouth.” If self-service laundry owners aren’t part of it, then they’re losing the ability to keep track of their businesses, warns Jeff Gardner, the “Laundry Doctor,” a store owner and marketing expert from Minnesota.
The store owners regularly use contests as a way to gather e-mail addresses and build their e-marketing efforts.
The Clean Executive Committee made news when it announced the host cities and dates for the next three Clean Shows: New Orleans will host the event June 21-23, 2013; Atlanta will host April 17-19, 2015; and the show will return to Las Vegas June 19-21, 2017.
The biggest news was that the shows are scheduled for just three days vs. the traditional four. The dates reflect a more concise and efficient format designed to give exhibitors and attendees a better value for their time and money invested in the Clean Show, the CEC says.
If the three-day experiment doesn’t work as well as hoped, the show could return to the four-day format, according to Cotter.