As we move forward into 2019, the industry will see a significant shift in how the Coin Laundry Association operates and the educational products and resources it produces. Every change is part of the CLA Board of Directors’ long-term plan to grow and enhance the association’s value to the vended laundry owner, investor, distributor and manufacturer.

A special thanks to CEO Brian Wallace and his CLA/PlanetLaundry staff for their great work and diligence in 2018! Thanks also to the CLA committees, CLA Board, LaundryCares and Immediate Past Chairman Ron Kelley for the masses of priorities accomplished in 2018. There’s a lot to be proud of – and more good things to come.

The Impact of Selling the Clean Show

Let’s begin with the CLA’s resent sale of the Clean Show to Messe Frankfurt – an extremely positive move for the association and the laundry and textile-care industry for a number of reasons. First, thanks to the vast global experience and resources of Messe Frankfurt, we believe Clean will advance in both quality and reach. In years past, the CLA staff, Clean Show partner associations and Riddle & Associates were charged with planning, marketing, managing and executing the show – in addition to hosting their own networking events, educational programming and other duties as exhibiting sponsors. Due to the sale, the CLA is freed from many planning hours that will now be focused on bettering services, legislative advocacy and products.

A Transactional Organization

Additionally, there will be a change in the CLA’s structure. In 2019, the organization will embark on its mission to morph into a more transactional organization – a nonprofit that produces educational products, resources and tools made available to its membership, as well as non-members. All are designed to grow the industry and profitability of store owners, including:

  • Attendant training
  • Wash-dry-fold training
  • Marketing services
  • White papers, surveys and educational references
  • Investor toolkits, demographics, grand opening/event playbooks
  • Interactive webinars
  • Clean Show educational seminars
  • Partnered insurance programs
  • Utility programs
  • Sustainability best practices and cultural development

Enhanced Communication Platforms

Just as CLA products and offerings will improve, platforms for communication among our stakeholders will expand. The CLA will launch a new communication platform – CLA Connect Live – to facilitate learning and communication among store owners at a regional level. More than 50 of these meetups are scheduled throughout the country to help laundry owners improve profits, share ideas and expand community involvement. Let’s face it, as long as networking remains strong, the industry should as well. Remember, the CLA helps bring good people together to share successful stories, ideas and approaches.

So, jump in and get involved. Register for a CLA Connect Live event near you, get involved with a webinar, or seek answers from fellow owners via the CLA Connect Open Forum. Doing so makes everyone better.

Consider LaundryCares

And this is the focus of LaundryCares, a charitable foundation administered by the CLA, dedicated to providing laundry services and programming to those in need through local laundromats. This is the face of our industry we all know is there, but need the world to see! Millions of people across the country – many in underserved communities – visit laundromats each week to clean clothes. The CLA and its members established the LaundryCares Foundation in 2006 as a means of focusing the industry’s support to these communities through its network of laundry owners and their facilities. 

In the last few years it has greatly matured. In addition to the organization’s flagship events, free laundry days, which have helped thousands across the nation with complimentary laundry services, the LaundryCares Foundation also teams with other organizations, including Too Small to Fail, Libraries Without Borders and Current Initiatives to deliver educational programs promoting children’s literacy and family interactions at the laundromat.

The impact is huge and the foundation has garnered international attention and contributions. Already, the 2019 LaundryCares Literacy Summit – which focuses on fundraising for the cause – has secured Chelsea Clinton as its keynote speaker. Additionally, PBS/Education Week plans to air a feature on the foundation’s pilot program in coming months. It’s a cause worthy of the attention and hoopla. See for yourself by getting involved as a volunteer, contributor or laundromat host for our next free laundry day. Check it out at www.laundrycares.org. You’ll be glad you did!

In closing, I urge you to tap into the CLA’s resources, philanthropies and tools. Because, simply, we are stronger together.