NEW ORLEANS — Final attendee registrations for Clean ’09 in New Orleans stand at 9,902, according to show planners Riddle & Associates. Not surprisingly, show attendance was down from Clean ’07’s 14,667. Preregistration for Clean ’07 was 11,302 attendees; preregistered attendees for this year’s show totaled about 8,400, or 25.7% fewer than the Las Vegas show. There were 412 exhibitors and a total of 192,640 square feet of floor space.Part of that decrease could be the fact that many exhibitors cut down on booth space and staffing to save money in response to the current economic downturn, according to John Riddle, chief executive officer of Riddle & Associates.But the quality of the visitors more than made up for the loss in traffic, he added, echoing what many industry suppliers were saying on the floor.“Yes, we were down, but I think that nobody came to New Orleans in June just to eat shrimp étouffée,” he said. “The numbers were down, but the quality was great. They came here and spent money.”TAKING IN THE EXHIBITSAs you might expect, trying to take in all the exhibits and check out new items was a daunting task. Here are just some of the things that caught my eye:
- Electrolux brand professional laundry products, available in North America for the first time, were on display at the show thanks to Bermil Industries Corp., the business team that makes Wascomat brand equipment available in the United States.
- WashCard Systems and IDX, two companies with ties to the car wash industry, displayed cashless solutions.
- Speed Queen and Huebsch showcased the Quantum and Galaxy washer-extractor control platforms.
- Extra-profit centers are always an eye-catcher. Betson Enterprises displayed several Lavazza brewing systems, which deliver espresso and espresso-based beverages. Fawn Vendors showed a 19-selection Laundry Center, designed to hold everything from small detergent packets to large (22- to 24-ounce) bottles of bleach.
- Pellerin Milnor added a 60-pound washer to its Visionex line.
- Maytag’s multiload, soft-mount washers are available in 18-, 25- and 35-pound models, and feature high-speed extraction of up to 350 G-force. Maytag pairs the washers with its latest Energy Advantage multiload, stack dryers.
- Renzacci, a company that many U.S. show attendees may know for its drycleaning equipment, opened Renzacci Laundry USA, featuring the RZ Plus tumbler dryer, which features a closed-loop exhaust system that feeds exhaust air back into the machine.
EDUCATIONLarge crowds attended the self-service laundry educational sessions during the four-day show. The sessions touched on a variety of subjects, from marketing to cashless systems to garment care.One session, a panel discussion, even dealt with profiting in today’s challenging economy. The panel was split on whether the self-service laundry industry could be called recession-proof.The panel agreed on the fact that there are “down economy” opportunities. For example, the panel said weaker store owners are leaving the business, which opens up more buying opportunities. In addition, this is also a good time to strike more advantageous deals with contractors, distributors, landlords, etc.BACK TO VEGASThe Clean Show will return to Las Vegas for its next appearance, with dates set for June 6-9, 2011. This will be the fifth time that the Clean Show has been held in “fabulous” Las Vegas.With this schedule, Las Vegas ties Chicago for most shows, and surpasses New Orleans, which has held four shows, including 2009.