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Clean ’22 Preview: Return of Textile Care Gathering

What to know about the July 30-Aug. 2 industry trade event in Atlanta

ATLANTA — When attendees and exhibitors get together at the Georgia World Congress Center July 30-Aug. 2 for The Clean Show—formally the World Educational Congress for Laundering and Drycleaning—it will be a welcome regathering of the industry.

“I think the attendees will walk away with the viewpoint that our industry is still standing after COVID,” says Greg Jira, Clean Show director for Messe Frankfurt North America, “that this shows that we’re poised to find new successful pass forward in the coming years.”

The Clean Show creates a platform that brings together all industry professionals to network, educate and share the latest technologies in the industry, says the organizer. Attendees come from all over the U.S. and beyond to learn about the latest products, trends and strategies that will help them to grow their business.

The show in Atlanta will be much the same, but some of it will be different.

Some of that difference will come from it being the first “post-COVID” Clean Show.

“The show will be different; everything on the downside of the pandemic is different,” says Linda Fairbanks, executive director of the Association for Linen Management (ALM), a partner association for the show.

“I’m reminded of the last time The Clean Show was held in Atlanta (spring 2015). The crowd was a bit smaller, but exhibitors raved after that show, proclaiming that the right people were there, and sales were outstanding!

“Our current labor shortfalls are escalating plans for investment in labor-saving technologies, and I believe that will be the focus for attendees at Clean ’22. Coupled with the fact that this is the industry’s first major return to in-person events, I believe it will be a good show.”

At press time, nearly 350 exhibitors were set to display products and services for the industry, and 30 hours of educational sessions were scheduled.

Jira says that his staff has attracted 41 first-time Clean exhibitors for Atlanta.

“It’s the thing that I challenge my team to deliver—finding new exhibitors,” he shares. “It’s already an all-time record, and the crew still is delivering finding new people to come to the trade show floor.”

Messe Frankfurt’s involvement with the event is another change this time. The trade show organizer purchased the show before the New Orleans event in 2019, and it was co-hosted with the previous organizer, Riddle & Associates.

This year, Messe Frankfurt is fully at the helm with its association partners: ALM, Coin Laundry Association (CLA), Drycleaning & Laundry Institute International (DLI), Textile Care Allied Trades Association (TCATA) and TRSA, the association for linen, uniform and facility services.

But any changes won’t be drastic.

“Why change a winning formula?,” Jira says. “That’s our approach. Clean has a long, long history of success and memorable events. Our goal is to bring the same great industry experience the exhibitors and attendees have grown accustomed to.

“You’ll see a different level of graphics and some new technology, but the person-to-person action within the industry, that’s what makes clean special.”

“TRSA is bringing its Exchange web utility for appointment-setting to Clean for the first time,” says  Joseph Ricci, president and CEO of TRSA. “Over the past several years this has been used at TRSA events for tabletop meetings between member supplier partners and operators in sessions on specific days at designated times.

“At Clean, they will use it to meet at participating supplier partners’ exhibit booths anytime during show hours.”

EXHIBITS

Exhibitors are gearing up to meet with potential buyers from across the commercial laundering, drycleaning, and textile service industry, and will have products and innovations on display representing the entire value-added chain in the textile care, dry cleaning, and laundry sectors, including:

  • Machinery, systems and accessories for washing, cleaning and other textile applications.
  • Financial and technology solutions.
  • Additives and chemicals.
  • Facility maintenance.
  • Logistics and material flow.
  • Energy-saving solutions and water technology.

This year, visitors can expect a diverse group of exciting new products and technologies to be debuted on the show floor and will have 41 first-time exhibitors to discover, the record for most new companies in any one year in Clean Show history, according to Messe Frankfurt.

EDUCATION, EVENTS

All Clean Show attendees will have the option to attend more than 30 hours of free sessions, with content provided by the five partnering associations.

This year’s sessions will address the latest trends, technologies and technical developments hitting the industry, and will feature strategies to help business owners become more efficient, effective and profitable, and how to adapt in an ever-changing business landscape.

Topics include:

  • The Next Generation of Laundromats
  • State of the Linen, Uniform and Facility Services Industry
  • Pardon the Interruption, Automation in Progress
  • 12 Profit Activators: Guaranteed To Create An Immediate Cash Flow Surge
  • The Economic Impact of Reusable Textiles
  • The CDC Perspective on Textile Care Services
  • Marketing through Your POS
  • And more.

Besides the educational sessions, partnering associations have planned a series of events that range from volunteer opportunities to social receptions, from breakfast to dinner. Note: some events require registration and are members only.

Details about the educational sessions will be posted here July 12 and event opportunities will be shared July 14.

SCHEDULE, TRANSPORTATION

The four-day event begins at 8 a.m. EDT Saturday when only distributors will have access to the show floor and the first education sessions occur. Gates will open for everyone at 10 following a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony, and the show will run until 5 p.m. Hours for the rest of the event are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday and 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

There will be complimentary shuttle buses running each morning from designated hotels to the Georgia World Congress Center while Clean is in session. Buses will run about every 15-20 minutes from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday and from 7:30 to 11 the other three days.

The schedule flips during the afternoons, with buses picking up passengers at the GWCC every 20-30 minutes and stopping at designated points. Those shuttles will run from 3 to 6 p.m. on the first three show days and from 1:30 to 4 on closing day.

FINAL THOUGHT: COME TO ATLANTA

After more than two years of quarantines, vaccines and delays, it’s time for the textile care industry to get together of North America to come together in Atlanta.

“The benefits of the trade show is you’re going to be face-to-face with your industry peers,” Jira points out. “You can share war stories. You can figure out ways to break down and triumph over the new adversarial-type situations that have popped up due to COVID.

“It’s not just about going to a show and then looking at the equipment, it’s about the person-to-person interaction and how to connect in an industry and how to move forward as an industry.”

“We’re looking forward to this show more than ever to foster the linen, uniform and facility services industry as a global community,” Ricci says. “In cooperation with the national associations of the European Textile Services Association, we’ve designated Sunday, July 31, for global collaboration, with a breakfast and two seminars.”

After more than two years of virtual meetings and feeling isolated, TCATA President John Silverman tells sister publication American Drycleaner that he believes Clean 2022 will be the event the industry has been yearning for.

“I think the energy level will be high,” he says. “My expectation is everybody’s going to be super excited to get together—just getting out there and talking to people that have like-minded problems and solutions. I think that expectations for that are very high right now.”

“Zoom and conference calls have been our saving grace for the past two years, but so much more can be achieved in person-to-person conversations,” Fairbanks concludes. “The combination of these two factors will give us what we all need.”

The next edition of The Clean Show will be in Orlando in 2025 to return to Clean’s traditional odd-year schedule and fit better in the international tradeshow schedule.

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Clean ’22 Preview: Return of Textile Care Gathering

(File Photo: American Trade Magazines)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].