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Trade Show Success Strategies (Conclusion)

“It’s been three years since the last Clean Show. I’m excited, but I feel out of practice when it comes to face-to-face trade shows. How can I best prepare for the show? How can I get the most out of the return to Clean?”

Consulting Services: Jon Witschy, Spindle, Woodridge, Ill.


I always look forward to The Clean Show. As the biggest event for our industry in the United States, it is a great one-stop-shop for meeting with our customers and prospects, as well as for seeing the latest and greatest from my fellow vendors. 

For Spindle, The Clean Show is a key opportunity to demonstrate the enhancements in our technology to a wide audience. All vendors will be bringing their “A” game—and their “A” team—to show off new developments in their products.

Make a plan. Go ahead and check out the floor layout online so you know exactly where to find the exhibitors you want to see. 

The best thing to do is to schedule meetings with vendors. A booth can get busy and the last that you (or we, I can assure you) want is for you to have to wait to discuss your interests. 

Reach out in advance of the event or make an initial pass of the floor, during which you might actually catch someone free but can definitely arrange a firm meeting time for later.

Arrange enough time for your meeting and for transition time to your next appointment.  Discussions may run overtime, and The Clean Show floor can be a big area to cover when getting from one booth to the next. 

On that note, make sure you bring comfortable shoes.

Remember that the event goes until 3 p.m. on Tuesday. We often joke that it’s just we vendors talking to each other on the last day, especially after lunch. While this is surely beneficial, we’d still enjoy speaking with existing and potential customers. 

With Hartsfield-Jackson having just regained its status as the world’s busiest airport, there’s probably a flight schedule that would allow you to make the most of your last day at the event.

Living in an Atlanta suburb, I can tell you a little about life away from the show floor, too.  There’s not a Vegas Strip or Bourbon Street right outside the Georgia World Congress Center, but there are plenty of spots within walking distance to meet, greet and entertain. 

Downtown Atlanta has many of the chains you’d imagine, with places like Ruth’s Chris and McCormick & Schmick’s right around the corner from the GWCC. 

For a uniquely Atlanta experience, try establishments such as the Hudson Grille, Ray’s in the City, or the Sun Dial, a rotating restaurant on the top floor of the Westin Peachtree Plaza that delivers an ever-changing view of the city. 

Marietta Street has a “mini-strip” on the northwest side of the convention center with Stats Brewpub, Max’s Pizza, Twin Smokers BBQ and Der Biergarten. 

There’s also Peachtree Street—not West Peachtree Street, not Peachtree Avenue, not Peachtree Circle, not Peachtree Road, not Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, just Peachtree Street—that offers bars and restaurants within a half-mile of the Congress Center.

I hope everyone has a valuable experience at The Clean Show, and I look forward to welcoming you to Atlanta!

Commercial Laundry: Lee Baldauf, Superior Linen Service, Tacoma, Wash.


Dang! Finally, after a three-year hiatus, the business of laundry is starting to feel real again.

The last clean show was 2019, New Orleans, and what a show it was. I literally looked at equipment, bell to bell, every day, and “networked” like a demon every evening.

Times were good. The market was strong. Labor was available enough that a company could surely consider taking on more work and even adding a shift.

There are definitely a different set of circumstances now as we emerge from the pandemic. Inflation, textile and parts availability, and labor are all creating challenges.

I cannot imagine a scenario where an owner or chief does not benefit from attending the show. For me, I take the opportunity to attend a short seminar, or two, if it may give me better insight into my needs.

This will be my fifth show. I like to spend the first day walking the floor through its entirety, greeting people I know through past purchases and inquiries but maybe having never met them face to face.

I mean, how many new sales and service staff members have come to the industry since the last show?

If you’re smart, or even if you are like me, you have an idea of certain items that are on your shortlist.

Remember, Clean won’t do its next show until 2025, and then go back to every odd year for the shows. For me, I will be thinking five years ahead with thoughts and hopes of increasing poundage while effectively streamlining labor needs.

I also, because of communicative and smart owners, have some “gonna decide which one at Clean” pieces of equipment I will be comparing among vendors at the show.

In my opinion, this is the best time and place to do a deep comparison on reliability, service, parts availability, ease of maintenance, efficiency and price … with price being a consideration but not the main consideration. This is the time to consider cost over time.

The networking done away from the show is your chance to get candid opinions from your peers, and even competitors, and their experiences with machines and processes that you are considering.

Seems like the opinions get more honest the closer you get to sunrise, but that is probably just a statement that applies to people like myself.

This is such a large and small industry. As an engineer, I go with a written list of specifics, and a mental will to find something great.

A sick love for the industry, some goals of what issue or system you want to improve, and an open mind will yield worthy rewards at this show.

I can’t wait to see you all there!

Miss Part 1 with insights from experts in uniform/workwear manufacturing, chemicals supply and equipment manufacturing? Click HERE to read it!

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