Atlanta to Host the Laundry Industry’s Largest Trade Show and Convention

atlantaThe last time the self-service laundry industry descended upon the city of Atlanta en masse, Ronald Reagan was president, Paul Newman won an Academy Award for his work in “The Color of Money” – and many of even the most modern laundromats of the day likely featured paneling on the walls, a snappy orange and avocado décor, and more than a few water-guzzling toploaders.

For industry veterans, it may be hard to believe, but the Clean Show hasn’t graced the Georgia World Congress Center since 1987 – and how things have changed in those 28 years.

Now in its 38th year, Clean – which will return to the Big Peach on April 16-19 – has grown to become the premier event for the commercial laundering, drycleaning and textile service industry. Thousands of attendees from around the world come to see and learn about the latest products and services the industry has to offer.

Named among the Trade Show News Network’s Top 250 Trade Shows, the Clean Show is the largest textile care exposition in the world that features working equipment. In fact, for years, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Orlando featured the only venues that could accommodate the show’s size and unique utility requirements – Clean uses more steam than any other trade show in the world; the equivalent of nearly 100 drycleaning establishments is built on the exhibit floor.

However, thanks to some recent renovations that will enable the Georgia World Congress Center to accommodate the show’s utility demands, Clean 2015 will mark the industry’s return to Atlanta.

According to show surveys, more than 94 percent of the attendees are business owners, executives or managers. What’s more, this biennial event has moved with the times technologically, with the internet and social media playing an ever-increasing role in communication, promotion, registration and housing.

The show will feature a Cyber Café, where attendees can check email. In addition, this year, for the second time, the show has offered a Clean Show app for use on all smartphones, allowing attendees to virtually connect with exhibitors, organize their daily activities and navigate the show floor.

The Clean Show is sponsored jointly by five industry trade groups – the Coin Laundry Association, the Association for Linen Management, the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, the Textile Care Allied Trades Association and the Textile Rental Services Association of America. And, in 2015, these sponsors will be providing more than 40 hours of educational sessions in conjunction with the trade show.

In the Classroom

Over the years, the Clean Show has become the most anticipated event in the industry – and the show’s continually growing and diverse educational program is certainly one of the main reasons.

For self-service laundry owners, here is what the CLA has planned:

April 16

8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. – Flip My Laundry: Best Practices for Remodeling Laundries

There is often more than one “right way” to remodel a self-service laundry. In this session, you’ll identify ways to design a store to maximize revenue per square foot. You’ll also see and hear remodel success stories, and discuss how the owners overcame potential design issues.

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – The High-Tech Laundromat: Streamlining Store Operations through Technology

Operations have changed dramatically for some laundries and, today, owners can monitor stores from the comfort of their living rooms, lock the front door remotely and track revenue from their mobile devices. In this session, store owners share the ways they use technology to streamline store operations and improve efficiencies.

April 17

8:15 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. – All Things Google: Tips and Secrets to Your Best Marketing Resource

With the internet at your fingertips, reaching potential customers has never been easier or cheaper. You don’t need an advertising agency; all you need is Google. In this session, you’ll discover some of Google’s best tools for laundries and identify ways to leverage those resources to reach your customers.

9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. – Maximum Performance: Getting the Most from Your Laundry Attendants

Great laundry attendants are often a reason for customers to choose one laundry over another. Help your business and your employees reach their potential through clear goals and processes. You’ll learn how to train attendants on topics such as store cleaning, equipment maintenance, customer service, money handling, sales and more.

April 18

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. – Your Guide to Wash-Dry-Fold: Folding, Packaging and Presentation Techniques

For some stores, wash-dry-fold is a great opportunity to generate additional income and capture a different slice of the customer base. But technique is everything. In this session, you’ll see how to fold, package and present laundry so that it’s not only clean, but looks good, too.

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. – Commercial Accounts Marketing Toolkit

If you’re considering adding commercial accounts to your wash-dry-fold operations or want to grow that segment, this session is for you. Experts weigh in on what’s needed to pursue commercial accounts, how to market your business for those accounts and identify strategies for growing your commercial account base.

April 19

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. – Acquisition Financing: Today’s Options for Your Next Store Purchase

Purchasing a self-service laundry requires a large initial capital investment and financing a laundry often differs from more traditional financing models. In this session, you’ll discover what information you’ll need to obtain financing and how to avoid potential financing pitfalls.

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. – Top 10 Secrets Potential Laundry Owners Should Know

Learn from others’ experiences and avoid potential pitfalls that could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Join former multi-store owner and current CLA Chief Operating Officer Michael Sokolowski as he counts down the top 10 secrets you need to know before purchasing or building a self-service laundry.

The New South

Of course, after a full day on the trade show floor and in the seminar rooms, be sure to take in all that today’s Atlanta has to offer.

The city, which gave birth to the classic “Gone with the Wind,” is teeming with American history, from the Civil War to the civil rights movement. However, to be clear, Atlanta in 2015 is a bustling metropolis that’s more New South than old.

Its population of 4 million residents is decidedly youthful and racially diverse. Centennial Olympic Park, the heart of downtown’s tourist hub, is marked by cascading fountains that draw visitors to its core. Attractions abound at Pemberton Place with the popular Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. And, for sports fans, the newly opened College Football Hall of Fame is a must-see attraction.

The city’s rich history comes to life in Sweet Auburn, an African-American community just east of downtown Atlanta, which has become a civil rights mecca for those visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and the famed Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Atlanta also features a wide array of chef-run restaurants dishing up modern American cuisine in strikingly beautiful spaces. Among the cutting-edge eateries are plenty of cozy diners, cafés and bistros. And the ethnic mom-and-pop restaurants along Buford Highway offer menus with little English and a lot of flavor.

Beyond the city’s core, Atlanta’s neighborhoods are packed with personality. Midtown melds in-town glitz with the culture. The Westside has become a magnet for foodies, design enthusiasts and shoppers. Buckhead blends boutiques and galleries with fabulous dining, while Little Five Points lives on the edge of bohemian grunge paired with solid live theatre and music scenes.

Culture permeates Atlanta. Emerging artists and designers pepper the local galleries and boutiques. The city also boasts an award-winning symphony, opera and ballet. And visitors can catch Atlanta’s homegrown talent at its numerous local playhouses, theaters and neighborhood music venues.

Where to Go… What to See…

“As a lifelong resident of Atlanta, it’s thrilling to see all of the exciting things that are available to do in the city, from sports to arts and culture to nightlife,” said William Pate, president and CEO of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Last year, we opened the College Football Hall of Fame and Center for Civil and Human Rights. Just across the street, Clean Show attendees and visitors can explore other major attractions around Centennial Olympic Park, including the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola and CNN headquarters.

“Atlanta is fortunate to have hundreds of cultural arts institutions in the metro area, so we have great offerings for visitors who want to experience the arts,” he added. “As for me, I like the parks. I enjoy walking around Piedmont Park and people-watching. No matter who you are, Atlanta has a wide variety of attractions that will tap you’re your interests.”

Joe Cole of Southeastern Laundry Equipment, based in Marietta, Ga., offered a few of his personal must-see Atlanta-area attractions for Clean Show attendees:

“Stone Mountain is one of the top attractions in and around Atlanta. It has something for all ages, from train rides to laser light shows. You can take your family and spend the entire day there. And, if you want exercise, you can actually walk all the way to the top of the mountain. It’s just a few miles out of town, but certainly worth the trip.

“The Atlanta Zoo also is close to the center of town and is world renowned for its panda and gorilla exhibits. Lastly, Six Flags Over Georgia has been an Atlanta attraction for more than 50 years. In April, it’s open only on weekends, but it’s worth visiting if you or your kids like roller coasters.”

Sebrina Barrett, who owns Klassy Klean in Riverdale, Ga., suggested a trip to the SkyView Ferris Wheel. “This is a great attraction, as it offers a wonderful view of Atlanta, lifting riders nearly 20 stories into the air,” she said. “At its peak, the attraction provides bird’s eye views of the downtown sights.”

Barrett also recommended having at least one meal at Mary Mac’s Tea Room: “For a true taste of fresh southern cuisine, this is the place. The menu features a wide variety of entrees, and there are so many different sides available that you won’t be able to try them all.”

Hetal Patel, a laundry owner located Martinez, Ga., pointed out that a tour of famous CNN headquarters and a visit to the city’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History would be great, educational ways for Clean Show attendees to spend some quality down time.

On the other hand, for foodies and those seeking the nightlife, Star Distributing’s Michael Davis, who grew up in Atlanta, offered a number of insider hot-spot suggestions:

• Tongue & Groove – a sleek nightclub with luxe decor is a lively spot for dancing and private party table service.

• Eclipse di Luna – live Latin music sets the scene at this energetic tapas restaurant with a patio and a creative cocktail list.

• Dive Bar – a large, casual bar with DJs, dancing, theme nights, two patios, a no-frills décor and a lively crowd.

• The Establishment – a whimsical, upmarket watering hole serving inventive drinks and southern chow in patio-equipped digs.

• Rathbun’s – this lively spot serves creative American plates in a stylish, renovated warehouse.

• Two Urban Licks – American rotisserie fare and live blues are draws at this club in a former warehouse with great city views.

• Loca Luna – a sprawling restaurant and bar offering tapas, Latin bands, DJs and dancing in a boisterous atmosphere.

• The Sound Table – small plates and cocktails served in an industrial space that morphs into a dance club at night.

• Johnny’s Hideaway – a storied, retro nightclub spinning oldies and serving pub grub amid decor nods to Sinatra and Elvis.

Another local – John Riddle of Atlanta-based Riddle & Associates (the Clean Show’s management company) – offered two more solid dinner suggestions for after show hours.

Alfredo’s Italian Restaurant is a throwback spot where waiters serve traditional Italian food in a wood-paneled dining room, while Bones Steakhouse is an Atlanta institution, serving prime beef and seafood in clubby rooms with an old-school vibe.

“For those who want to get outside to enjoy the beautiful spring weather, the Botanical Gardens at Piedmont Park are outstanding,” Riddle noted. “And another interesting place to stroll around is Oakland Cemetery. This is the resting place of Margaret Mitchell, who wrote ‘Gone with the Wind,’ as well as legendary golfer Bobby Jones and many others. It’s got a lot of history.

“Atlanta has changed immensely since that last time the laundry industry was here in 1987,” he added. “I really think the attendees are going to enjoy themselves.”

To that end, the CLA is planning a Southern Swing Party for its members during the show. Mark your calendar for Friday night, April 17, and join your fellow CLA members at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and southern specialties from a number of various dinner stations – as well as live jazz and blues performed by local musicians.

The slogan for Clean 2015 is “One Industry. One Stage” – with every facet of the laundry industry represented and limitless opportunities for networking, education, live demonstrations and more.

It’s a fitting theme – considering that, for four days this April, the city of Atlanta and the entire laundry industry will no doubt take center stage.

Clean 2015: Face the Facts

Dates: April 16- 19, 2015

Location: Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta

Show Profile: Among top 100 North American trade shows and the largest industry show in the world featuring working equipment. The Clean Show attracts all facets of the laundering, drycleaning and textile-care industry – from single-owner self-service laundry and drycleaning establishments to enormous industrial and institutional laundries and textile service companies. Exhibitors are manufacturers and providers of products, supplies and services to the industry.

Exhibit Space: Clean 2015 will take up approximately 195,000 net square feet, with more than 400 exhibiting companies.

Attendance: The show brings together more than 10,000 people from more than 80 countries and six continents.

Educational Sessions: More than 40 hours of educational sessions will focus on the latest technical information, trends, business management, and environmental and regulatory issues.

For More Information: Visit cleanshow.com for details on registration, hotel reservations and other updates.

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