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Prepping Clean 2021 Amid Pandemic Uncertainty

Postponement not option if restrictions prevent gathering in June

ATLANTA — Messe Frankfurt is actively preparing for Clean Show 2021, scheduled here for June 10-13, but if COVID-19 pandemic restrictions prevent activities from taking place onsite as planned, Clean will likely not happen again until 2023, according to organizers.

Show Director Greg Jira updated Textile Care Allied Trades Association members on the show’s status during a recent webinar. TCATA and four other textile care trade associations—Association for Linen Management (ALM), Coin Laundry Association (CLA), Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI), and TRSA, the association for linen, uniform and facility services—sold the Clean Show to Messe Frankfurt in 2018.

Messe retained longtime show manager Riddle & Associates to manage the 2019 event in New Orleans but now has fully taken the reins for Clean 2021 in the Georgia World Congress Center.

The Clean Show is North America’s largest exposition of laundering, drycleaning and textile care services, supplies and equipment. Clean 2019 attracted more than 11,000 industry professionals and 452 exhibiting companies.

“We know that the global pandemic is wreaking havoc within our industry,” Jira says about preparations for Clean 2021. “We are operating as if there will be an end to all this and that, a year from now in June, we will be in a better place. … We believe it will be a great show but we are fully expecting it to be less square footage (than 2019 in New Orleans).”

Jira says postponing Clean 2021 isn’t an option, with Germany’s Texcare International—also run by Messe Frankfurt—already having been moved to November 2021 from its original June 2020 dates. Many of Clean’s larger exhibitors also traditionally exhibit at Texcare.

“If, by some chance, June isn’t going to work on a national health level … or we’re not allowed into the building, more than likely, the show will just not happen,” Jira says. “We can’t move it into the next year. We’ll then be too close to (the) 2023 (event). There are so many contracts at play, and obligations, that would be too hard to do.”

Sales Associate Jewell Kowzan says the most common question she receives is what will become of deposits for exhibit space if the pandemic worsens, travel restrictions are imposed, etc.

“We will be refunding exhibitors should that happen,” says Kowzan, adding that an email would be distributed to exhibitors clarifying that position.

She says the same cancellation and refund policy at prior shows is essentially in place. Exhibitors canceling through October 15 will receive a full refund less a $95 Messe Frankfurt administration fee, while those canceling between October 15 and January 15 will receive a 30% refund.

Kowzan tells American Trade Magazines that as of July 23, there have been 114 contracts submitted to reserve space at Clean 2021.

Drawing attendees during a pandemic could be a challenge, and Jira says Messe Frankfurt has budgeted funds for additional marketing and advertising.

TCATA and the other associations remain involved with Clean and will provide the educational content and industry support that are key to the event’s success.

“We’re committed to building on the incredible legacy that the founding associations, along with Riddle & Associates, built,” Jira says. “In a word, I think what you can expect is consistency. It is our belief that we do not change what has made the show great, and we leverage Messe Frankfurt’s global resources to help attract representation from other affiliated markets that perhaps had not been reached in the past.”

Companies that exhibited at Clean 2019 have the first crack at reserving space for the Atlanta show on a first-come, first-served basis. Remaining exhibit space will open to other interested parties this fall.

Attendee registration for Clean 2021 is scheduled to open in November.