55 Years in the Life of the Coin Laundry Association

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the Coin Laundry Association. To help commemorate the occasion, we’ve created an industry timeline to help showcase just a few of the many industry and organizational highlights throughout the years:

1960 – The National Automatic Laundry and Cleaning Council is established to serve the needs of the growing laundromat industry within the United States.

1960 – H.J. Mitchell of Philco Corp. is named the trade organization’s first Chairman of the Board.

1961 – The first NALCC Convention is held in Chicago.

1963 – Charles Street of Galion, Ohio, becomes the first store-owner member of the association, after the group revises its organizational structure to include owner-operators as members.

1963 – The association places national advertising promoting the laundry industry within such consumer publications as Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar. Hollywood star Dolores Hawkins appears in several of these ads.

1967 – The NALCC merges with the National Coin Car Wash Council.

1972 – There were 41,250 self-service laundry and drycleaning stores in the U.S., featuring 1,036,000 coin-operated washers and accounting for a total of $840 million in laundry sales alone.

1975 – The first Clean Show is held in Chicago.

1981 – Stewart MacDonald, one of the founders and owners of the Mac=Gray Company, is honored with the association’s first Founder’s Award.

1983 – The NALCC changes its name to the Coin Laundry Association to more accurately represent the organization’s mission and the industry it serves.

1987 – Gwen Howard of The Villa Laundries becomes the first woman elected to chair the CLA’s Board of Directors.

1988 – CLA Insurance is founded to serve the very specific needs of self-service laundry business owners.

1990 – The CLA publishes the first issue of its new monthly magazine, The Journal of Coin Laundry and Drycleaning.

1997 – The CLA launches its first website, coinlaundry.org.

1997 – The average laundromat was 2,480 square feet and featured an average total gross revenue of $151,000.

2004 – The average self-service laundry customer spent $10.70 on washers and dryers during each store visit.

2005 – The Washington State Coin Laundry Association – an affiliate of the CLA – negotiates a sales tax exemption for self-service laundries, bringing a successful end to a legislative battle dating back to 1997.

2005 – The CLA creates the popular, eye-catching “circle” logo that has become synonymous with the association’s brand.

2006 – The CLA establishes LaundryCares, a charitable foundation created to provide laundry services and education to those in need.

2009 – The CLA moves its current headquarters of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.

2009 – The CLA launches planetlaundry.com, as a companion to the already-established coinlaundry.org site. The new content-heavy website is designed with more a “consumer-centric” style, to complement the existing CLA site that focuses on the many benefits of membership.

2011 – The CLA’s monthly magazine is rebranded as PlanetLaundry.

2012 – The Excellence in Laundry Conference is launched and held in Palm Springs, Calif. The event was created to provide top-quality industry education and unparalleled networking opportunities to self-service laundry operators during non-Clean-Show years.

2015 – The Iowa Self-Service Laundry Association scores a major legislative victory with its defeat of a long-standing sales tax on laundromat services in the state.

2015 – The CLA partners with the Clinton Global Initiative and Too Small to Fail to launch “Wash Time is Talk Time” events in self-service laundries across the U.S. The overall mission of these events is to engage parents in underserved communities by providing them with information and tools to support early brain and language development.

2016 – The CLA will continue to deliver industry-focused research and education, along with sustainable marketing power to its members. It will provide a voice for the industry – connecting peers and offering the extras that matter the most in building laundry excellence.

What did we miss? Share you memorable CLA moments and milestones with us at comments@planetlaundry.com.

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