NEW ORLEANS — The Clean Show returns to New Orleans next month for its first visit since 2001, bringing the textile care industry together here for the fourth time since the event was born 32 years ago.
The Clean Show — officially titled the World Educational Congress for Laundering and Drycleaning — has been convening every other year since 1977 to present new technology, educational sessions and networking opportunities to all segments of the laundry, drycleaning and textile care industry — from single-owner coin-operated laundry and drycleaning establishments to giant industrial and institutional laundries and textile rental.
But Clean ’09 has a unique challenge: attract budget-conscious attendees in the midst of an economic recession and to a city recovering from one of our country’s most historic natural disasters.
The Clean Executive Committee — comprised of representatives from the show’s six sponsoring associations — has worked hard to answer any skeptics. It has bolstered the broad-based educational benefits that only this event can offer while working closely with convention center and city tourism officials to present the Big Easy at its finest.
On June 18-21, the Morial Convention Center will become the textile care industry’s largest classroom, one in which attendees can gain an advantage over their competitors by learning from classroom sessions, live product demonstrations, and networking with others in the industry who have faced similar challenges.
“This is not the time to sit back,” says Roger Cocivera, Clean ’09 chairman and president/CEO of the Textile Rental Services Association of America (TRSA). “In these tough economic times, businesses should use every resource available to them to retain and grow their business. The Clean Show offers knowledge that can be the key to survival.”
“Our theme for this year’s show is Look, Learn and Listen,” says John Riddle, president of Atlanta-based Riddle & Associates, which has managed the Clean Show since 1993. “Come to look at the new technology, and new and improved equipment being offered; learn from expanded educational sessions; and listen to exhibitors and industry peers who are there to share their knowledge about how to solve some of the problems your business faces in today’s challenging conditions.”
Approximately 400 companies and organizations are scheduled to be represented on the exhibit floor, covering roughly 200,000 net square feet. Attendees can expect to be able to compare virtually all the industry has to offer, Riddle says.
“The Clean Show gives attendees an opportunity to compare products, see actual working equipment, get answers to their questions directly from the manufacturer, and network with their peers,” he says. “Everything everyone in the textile care industry would need is there.”
And this year, there’s even a little more. Forty-three hours of classroom education are scheduled over the four-day show, an expanded program from previous shows.
Key to this was the Clean Show’s invitation to associations throughout the world. Previously, educational sessions were provided only by the show’s sponsors: Association for Linen Management (ALM), Coin Laundry Association (CLA), Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI), Textile Care Allied Trades Association (TCATA), TRSA and the Uniform & Textile Service Association (UTSA).
“Our official name is World Educational Congress for Laundering and Drycleaning, and we felt the entire textile care industry would benefit from a more global reach in the education program,” Cocivera says.
In addition to some show sponsors, several other associations will present sessions. U.S. associations include the American Reusable Textile Association (ARTA), Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) and the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA).
Foreign presenters will be representing the Canadian Cleaners and Launderers Allied Trades Association (CLATA), European Textile Services Association (ETSA), Textile Services Association Ltd. (TSA) and CINET.
Topics generally focus on new technologies and trends; business management and marketing; and environmental issues facing the industry. All sessions are included in the show’s registration fee. The preregistration period has passed, so the cost will be $95 when registering on-site.
“This is a real bargain for industry professionals,” John Riddle says. “Many of the sessions offered command substantial fees when presented at any other time or place.”
Additionally, many of the industry’s trade associations schedule annual meetings and social activities around the Clean Show, and industry vendors sometimes host hospitality suites or parties for after-hours networking.
For example, ALM and TRSA will host annual meetings on June 17 to conduct association business and honor their high-achieving members. ARTA has planned a June 19 member breakfast at the Hampton Inn, across the street from the convention center.
CLEAN, FRESH LOOK
Clean ’07 was supposed to have been in New Orleans, but the Clean Executive Committee decided to shift it to Las Vegas following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The committee is making good on its promise then to return.
“New Orleans has retained its charm, but textile care professionals coming to Clean ’09 June 18-21 will see the city’s fresh, clean look immediately,” Riddle & Associates reports. “The famous French Quarter, the Central Business District, and the Warehouse/Arts District where the Morial Convention Center is located are all back to normal and better than ever.
“Unless they travel out into the most hard-hit neighborhoods, visitors will see little evidence of the wrath of Katrina nearly four years ago.”
Riddle & Associates hosted a group of industry journalists in New Orleans in December so they could get a first-hand look.
They found new paint and carpet, and all-new signage in the lobbies and outside meeting rooms of the newly refurbished Morial Convention Center.
New attractions, restaurants and freshly renovated hotels greeted them in the vibrant Warehouse/Arts District. The new company contracted to clean the streets in the French Quarter has done such a good job that its owner has attained near-celebrity status among the locals, the press corps learned.
“For most, it was their first trip to New Orleans since Katrina’s rage in 2005,” Riddle & Associates says of the group. “Some had expressed concern about the city’s ability to host the Clean Show. They were pleasantly surprised.”
NOW, THE DETAILS
The exhibit floor will open following a brief 10 a.m. ceremony on Thursday, June 18 (distributors are granted exclusive access from 8 to 10). Exhibits will open at 9 a.m. on subsequent days and will close at 5 p.m. (3 p.m. on the final day, Sunday, June 21).
Attendees who have pre-registered by May 22 will receive their badges by mail. Those registered after that date will have to pick up their badges at the Advance Registration counter at the convention center.
If you haven’t already done so, June 1 is the deadline to reserve a hotel room through the Clean ’09 Housing Bureau (800-424-5250) and receive a special rate. Clean ’09 blocked rooms at 18 New Orleans hotels but few of those may remain.
Airfare and car rental specials are available through the show’s official travel service: Globetrotter Travel, 888-447-7432, or 301-570-0800, press “1.” Its website is www.globetrottermgmt.com/cleanshow.
If arriving by plane, once you leave the Armstrong International Airport, the city’s uniqueness begins to unfold, says Riddle & Associates. It suggests passing up the rental car counters unless you’re planning a side trip somewhere distant from the central city. New Orleans is a “walking city.”
Streets are narrow, and parking is scarce and expensive. Take a taxi or shuttle to your hotel. The 20- to 30-minute cab ride downtown will cost a flat $30 plus tip for one or two people. An airport shuttle is $13 per person one way (a discount coupon can be found on the Clean website, www.cleanshow.com).
Complimentary shuttle buses will transport attendees between official hotels and the convention center mornings and afternoons during the show. Shuttle stops will be within a short walking distance of each hotel.
The warm welcome extended by New Orleans likely will be matched by the weather. The average high during the show dates is 90, the average low reaching only 72.
Dress comfortably in light clothing and avoid overexertion. Air-conditioned havens — cafes, bars and coffee shops — offer respite. And by all means, wear comfortable shoes — both for sightseeing and for the exhibit floor.
As the Clean Show has matured, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Orlando, Fla., have become the only cities with venues that can accommodate the show’s size and unique utility requirements, according to Riddle & Associates.
If tradition holds, the 2011 host will be announced on the final day of this year’s show.