Q1 2021

Al Reiner Died, Cadillac for Sale

Remembering an Industry Champion

By Harry A. Kimmel III, APR PRSA

Alvin Reiner of the Mayflower Laundry and Drycleaning Company in Hartford, Connecticut, passed away in October of 2020. A very active member of the drycleaning community, he served as president of the Institute from 1983-1984, and Board member from 1978-1983. He also served as executive director of the North East Fabricare Association (NEFA), and the Hartford County Laundry Association.

Always quick with a joke, Reiner wrote the headline for his own memorial. One day while reading a obituary in the local paper, he told his daughter, Gail Reiner, obituaries were too expensive because, “They charge by the word.” He said his should read, “Al Reiner Dead, Cadillac for Sale.” With fullest respect, we couldn’t resist using this as a headline.

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Q1 2021

Finding and Keeping Your Best Employees

By John Paul Roggenkamp

To help you make the most of 2021, DLI reached out to leading Human Resources professionals for insight into how to recognize, recruit, and retain great workers. We also asked about bothersome or unproductive individuals’ red flags. Keep reading for quotes from Kendra Hoffman, HR Project Manager at Puzzle PR, and Sandy Seay (via Kylie Luff) at Seay Management Consultants.

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Q1 2021

The Clean Show Remains Dedicated to Industry Wellness, Postpones Clean 2021 to Summer 2022

Messe Frankfurt has announced that the 2021 edition of The Clean Show will be postponed due to the continued global impacts of COVID-19. The next edition will be held July 30 through August 2, 2022 in Atlanta.

After months of strategic conversations with Messe Frankfurt’s global leadership, partner associations and representatives from the show’s key exhibiting groups, the team has decided that pushing the show and its subsequent edition is in the best interest of the industry as a whole.

The decision will affect at least the next two editions, with Clean 2023 also being moved to now take place in August of 2024.

“Although this has been a tough decision to make, we are confident that moving The Clean Show will allow us to provide the quality experience and return on investment our exhibitors and visitors have come to expect from Clean,” said Greg Jira, Show Director for The Clean Show.

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Q1 2021

Striking Your Perfect Balance Between Cost, Price, and Quality

by Don Desrosiers, Tailwind Systems

What’s the difference between the drycleaner who offers all garments for one low price and the drycleaner who charges full retail, along with upcharges for designer brands, delicate fabrics, stains and special handling?

What’s the difference between the drycleaner who offers all garments same day and the drycleaner who learned long ago that buying drycleaning service is completely different than buying a quart of milk or a loaf of bread? If the goal is to make garments ready to wear for customers, it just may take more – and dare I say much more – than the confines of an eight-hour day. If that is the goal, what is the difference between the top-service drycleaner and the one who guarantees all garments same day?

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Q1 2021

From the President: The Right Attitude

Jess Culpepper, DLI President

Albert Einstein said: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

The ultimate realization of this outlook is in our attitude. Having a positive attitude is more than coercing yourself to smile through what you perceive to be a bad day. It takes practice and training to acquire the attribute of a positive outlook and attitude. It is not a trait that is passed on through genetics; you have to want to learn the skill. This skill is more difficult for some than it is for others; therefore I work at it daily and I will stick with it even though I will likely never achieve mastery of this ability.

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Q4 2020

From the President

Jess Culpepper, DLI President

My name is Jess Culpepper and I am a drycleaner. There I said it. It sometimes feels as if we are addicted to our work and in need of intervention. In my case it is more of an allegiance and appreciation for this industry that has provided four generations of my family with an opportunity to live the American dream. For this next year it will be my privilege and honor to serve as DLI President. Culpepper Cleaners was started by my grandfather, Henry Allan Culpepper, in 1911. My dad, Richard Culpepper followed in 1949, I in 1978 and my son Ethan in 2011, representing our fourth generation.

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Q4 2020

Convenience to the Rescue

By John Paul Roggenkamp


The explosive rise of the gig economy (which largely hinges upon providing convenient solutions to common challenges), the acceleration of the work from home trend, as well as loosening social standards for formal and business attire are all impacting brands, markets, and – yes – drycleaning. With a deadly virus still active in communities across the country, drycleaners will likely need to adopt a range of convenience-oriented and contactless solutions (such as route-based as well as curb-side garment pick-up and delivery). Wash-dry-fold (WDF) has become a particularly viable option for many drycleaners keen on expanding markets and boosting sales. DLI asked four leading figures in the drycleaning industry for their views on the benefits and drawbacks of the shift to convenience. Some of their insightful responses are presented below.

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Q4 2020

Working Together to Overcome the COVID-19

Everything changed as Spring was starting. The novel coronavirus epidemic bloomed into a full-blown global pandemic and the economy stalled. Drycleaning sales across the U.S. and world dropped as much as 85% virtually overnight. The industry has since been in a long, slow recovery. This downturn is lasting longer than most drycleaning business owners first imagined.


From the start of the pandemic in mid-March, DLI began an ongoing effort to offer a host of COVID-19 updates and links to all professional cleaners DLI could reach, members or not. DLI quickly decided that COVID-related information was too important to the public health to restrict to members only and should be openly shared with the entire industry.

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