Q3 2019

What If There Were No Clean Show?

By Don Desrosiers, Tailwind Systems

A decade or two ago, high-level cost groups were more popular than they are now. The highest profile ones were made up of the top tier drycleaners nationwide, even worldwide. They would meet annually at exotic locales such as Sydney and Maui. I knew many of the members. I couldn’t help wondering why groups like this lost their momentum some years ago. Was it a signal indicating the end of the industry?  Was it a way to show apathy on the part of the world’s biggest players?  Or were these big players becoming more reclusive?  Something was changing.

I talked to a few members. I should’ve guessed what was happening. It was simple. Annual get togethers and meetings and conventions were replaced at a very convenient time. Piece counts were down, sales were down, money was tight but the Internet was free and so was email. Electronic transmissions, Skype, digital photography – you could do virtually anything with your peers. Maui is great, but if the goal really is business, it can be done electronically.

So, at one time, you needed to go to a Clean Show to investigate a new drycleaning machine, shirt unit, or pants topper. That morphed into getting information about equipment and other improvements and upgrades from your peer groups.  Now it just takes an email:  “Hey Joe. I know you just bought a shirt unit. Now I need one. Is that the way to go?”

So who needs a Clean Show right?

No way.

This will never work. For several reasons.

  1. Every plant is different. What is good for one operator could be completely wrong for another. If a peer buys a POS system that’s great for them and they tell you so, it could be awful for you. Only the Clean Show affords you the opportunity to see them all.
  2. People don’t like to admit that they made a mistake. It’s sad to say, but if someone buys something they wish they had not bought, they often don’t admit it. If it’s the worse thing ever, they’d probably tell you but if it’s just mediocre they will tell you that their purchase was a fine one. You’re liable to make the same mistake. Only the Clean Show affords you the opportunity to see all your choices
  3. Lastly, the person you ask may not have done their own due diligence themselves. They might not known what else out there either.


Nothing will ever replace the Clean Show.


Don Desrosiers has been in the drycleaning and shirt laundering business since 1978. He is a workflow engineer and a management consultant who provides serves to shirt launderers and drycleaners in the United States, Mexico, and western Europe through Tailwind Systems. He is a member of the Society of Professional Consultants and the 2001 recipient of DLI’s Commitment to Professionalism Award. He can be reached at 186 Narrow Avenue, Westport, MA 02790 or at his office by fax (508) 636-8839; by cell (508) 965-3163; or e-mail at tailwindsystems@charter.net. He has a website at www.tailwindsystems.com. The author’s views are his own and do not represent official Drycleaning & Laundry Institute positions.

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