LAS VEGAS — For a Clean Show exhibitor, “success” can be measured in a number of ways: running out of samples or brochures, taking orders, collecting leads, or having so many people in your booth that it’s hard to move around.
Whatever criteria the exhibitors were using here, post-show analysis was overwhelmingly positive.
“The feedback I received was nearly unanimous,” says Clean 2011 Chair David Cotter, CEO of the Textile Care Allied Trades Association. “A consistent theme running through these comments was the high-level quality of attendees and their readiness to purchase.”
Official show attendance was pegged at 11,200, up approximately 13 percent from Clean ’09 in New Orleans. There were 430 exhibitors showcased over 184,150 net square feet of floor space.
“Almost everyone we talked with—both attendees and exhibitors—had nothing but positive comments about the show,” says John Riddle, president of Riddle & Associates, the show’s longtime management company. “Based on exhibitor comments, people really came ready to buy.”
Rennco, a manufacturer of packaging systems, exhibited for the first time. Vice President/General Manager Robin Thurgood called the show a good investment. “Being this was our first show, we made contact with quite a few interested companies, all within four days. The systems that we offer allow end-users the means of cost savings by utilizing center-folded packaging material vs. pre-made bags.”
G.A. Braun again chose to forgo displaying pieces of equipment, as it had first done in 2009. A jumbo LCD screen showing Braun equipment in action drew visitors into the booth, where they watched equipment demonstrations featuring 360-degree animations and “hot buttons” displaying key features and functions. Braun plans to expand on this technology and incorporate it in a newly redesigned website, according to Pam Simonetti, marketing communications manager.
At the Kannegiesser USA booth, Apple iPads loaded with equipment demonstration videos and technical data enabled visitors to interact with machines like the new EMX high-speed cornerless spreader-feeder and the garment-folding robot FA-X 900. QR codes accompanied each machine on exhibit, allowing visitors to use their tablets and smart phones to scan and view online details.
“The attendees at this year’s show gave us more than we could have ever expected in the form of praise,” says Cathy Ballow from cart maker G.S. Manufacturing, which displayed its new back-door cart. “We had many existing customers come to the booth and shake our hands and thank us for developing such a great product.”
“As you can imagine, there was a lot of interest in understanding the difference between Lavatec Laundry Technology and the Lavatec Inc., which I think was easy to compare between the separate booths on site,” says Mark Thrasher, Lavatec Laundry Technology Inc. president. “We were able to display the entire range of equipment we sell and service, from the tunnel washer systems to the washer-extractor systems and the new line of folding equipment.”
“We had a very balanced grouping of visitors from both the industrial laundry industry as well as drycleaners,” says Paul Mullen, vice president of sales for White Conveyors. “They appeared to be, in general, motivated buyers with either current plans to purchase [now] or in the near future.”
Even so, Mullen believes the show shouldn’t be run every two years. “Customers know about every new innovation instantaneously in today’s web-based society. The show is still more of a networking event.”
For those who think they’ve seen everything, there was a machine that washes mattresses—not just the covering, the entire mattress. The large piece of equipment promoted by Italian exporter I Trade was not on display, but brochures depicted a hospital worker loading a mattress into a drum divided into multi-circular sectors.
Future Shows Three Days Instead of Four
The Clean Executive Committee (CEC) met with the media mid-show to announce sites and dates for the next three Clean Shows. The big news: They will be three-day shows instead of the traditional four-day exhibition.
New Orleans’ Morial Convention Center will host the event June 21-23, 2013; the show returns to Atlanta on April 17-19, 2015, the first time since 1987; and Clean once again visits Las Vegas on June 19-21, 2017.
The dates reflect a more concise and efficient three-day format designed to give exhibitors and attendees a better value for their time and money invested in the Clean Show, the CEC says.
“It’s difficult to keep the ebb and flow of people constant for a longer period than that,” says Joe Przepiorka, vice president of marketing for Encompass Group. “It’s a good move for a great show.”
“In making the decisions about future Clean Show locations, the Clean Executive Committee and Riddle & Associates conducted an unprecedented, thorough review of all possible venues nationwide,” Cotter says.
“This review included a vast array of factors needed for a successful show, ranging from appeal of the venue, operations and logistics, and financial viability, among many others. These three cities met these criteria, and we think exhibitors and attendees alike will agree that they will be excellent venues for the show.”
“We would have had problems trying to squeeze all of our appointments into a three-day schedule,” says Lavatec Laundry Technology’s Thrasher. “It might attract more smaller companies to attend if the costs are reduced.”
If the three-day experiment doesn’t work as well as hoped, the CEC could return to the four-day format, Cotter says.