FRANKFURT, Germany — Every four years, Frankfurt hosts the Texcare International trade show. Also known as the World Market for Modern Textile Care, much of the show’s focus is on industrial laundry and dry cleaning.
But during the five-day event in early May, there were opportunities to see coin laundry equipment amidst the tunnel washers, rail systems and finishing equipment. A handful of U.S.-based exhibitors displayed or promoted coin equipment to an international trade audience.
Alliance Laundry Systems presented a sizable booth featuring a wide variety of equipment. One of its brands, IPSO, showcased a fully operational vended laundry. Visitors to the booth were able to see how the machines process clothing and linens and how advanced controls help owners increase energy efficiencies.
The display included eight of IPSO’s new HD softmount washer-extractors and three DR tumblers. The washers operated using the Cygnus standard control and were connected to a central pay system. The tumblers featured the DX4 control.
“At IPSO, we know our products work hard to get the job done and it’s important for customers to see that, too,” says John Balman, senior director of sales—Europe for Alliance Laundry Systems. “Having a fully operational coin store at Texcare gives us the opportunity to not only describe how a Laundromat works, but to actually allow our visitors to experience it.”
Another Alliance brand, Speed Queen, promoted its relaunch to the international market. Its various segments, including vended, multi-housing, on-premises and home, have been united under a single brand identity that includes a new look, feel and message platform focused on Speed Queen’s key attributes.
Maytag Commercial Laundry successfully launched a new stack washer-dryer combo for the international export market. “So far, it’s been very popular for both distributors as well as end-users,” says Craig Kirchner, director of global commercial laundry for Maytag. “We’re getting both in the booth to talk about it.”
There was a lot of interest from dealers and potential customers from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. “They’re interested in taking it on because there aren’t a lot of options out there, specifically in this smaller (8-10 kg) equipment. … I’ve talked to a lot of guys in Europe that are going to be put those in coin laundry stores … because they don’t have as much space like the big Laundromats in the United States. These are perfect for that type of venue.”
Dexter Laundry is seeking to open up new international markets and used Texcare International to introduce or, for a number of attendees, reintroduce its brand of coin and OPL laundry equipment, says Kevin Hietpas, Dexter’s vice president of sales and marketing.
“We’re very happy that customers seem to recognize us,” he says. ”They’ll comment, ‘Hey, we’ve heard of you. We’ve never seen you before.’ By reputation, they’re interested in hearing more.”
Dexter is active in Italy and is looking to become more active elsewhere, he says. “We’ll follow up with a lot of potential opportunities from here. Some will turn into customers immediately, others may turn into customers down the road. We’re trying to approach the show from a very long-term perspective.”
To be successful in international markets, it’s vital that a manufacturer have a reputable, reliable distributor network. “Developing a distributor is a long-term process,” says Lee Wilson, director of international sales for Dexter. “It’s a partnership. It’s not something where we’re going to come in here and we’re just going to sign up a distributor. We’ve got to get to know them, they’ve got to get to know us.”
LG Electronics, which launched its family of card, coin and on-premise laundry equipment at last year’s Clean Show, exhibited at Texcare for the first time.
Other Texcare exhibitors that were listed as offering coin laundry equipment included Fagor Industrial (Spain), Krebe-Tippo (Slovenia), Miele (Germany) and Renzacci (Italy). American Dryer Corp. and Pellerin Milnor Corp., which offer coin laundry equipment among their product lines, exhibited but were not listed in the Texcare guide under that category.
John Riddle, Riddle & Associates, and David Cotter, CEO of the Textile Care Allied Trades Association, manned a booth promoting next year’s Clean Show in New Orleans. “For us, we made a decision many years ago that the Clean Show was an integral part of the world community of laundry and dry cleaning,” says Riddle, whose firm has managed the Clean Show for nearly two decades. “The way you show that support is you come and participate in these types of events.
“We wanted to show support, we have a lot of American manufacturers here and we wanted them to know that we’re here. … Plus, it exposed the attendee, the operator, the dry cleaner, the coin wash dealer, in all these countries … to what the Clean Show really was.”
Texcare International registered a 3% increase in attendance from the previous show in 2008. Altogether, 15,800 trade visitors from 100 countries attended the trade fair. More than half of all visitors (52%) came from outside Germany.
There were 264 exhibitors hailing from 26 nations in Hall 8 and the adjoining Galleria. Top exhibitor nations after Germany were Italy, the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands and Great Britain.