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Clean '17 - Life Begins at 40

2017 marks 40 years since The World Educational Congress for Laundering and Drycleaning debuted as the premier event for the laundry industry. Professionals from around the world gather to learn and discover the newest and most innovative technology, products and systems that the industry has to offer. The Clean Show is the largest textile services exposition in the world that features working equipment and industry education.

Prior to the birth of the Clean Show, industry suppliers and manufacturers exhibited at several shows annually. This was expensive and time consuming. In the mid-1970s, three industry associations considered consolidating their expositions into one biennial show to encompass the entire laundry, dry-cleaning and textile services industry. The three associations joined forces to create a show that would deliver the unity the industry was missing. Three additional sponsors joined in 1977. They called it the World Educational Congress for Laundry and Drycleaning, better known as The Clean Show.

By 1992 the show had grown significantly in size and presence. The Coin Laundry Association, which then managed the show, and the other sponsoring associations, decided it was time to engage professional management. Riddle & Associates, an Atlanta-based trade show management and consulting firm, was hired to produce Clean ’93. John Riddle, the company’s president, had worked with the Clean Show’s operations since 1981, so it was a seamless transition.

Several U.S. cities have hosted the Clean Show in its 40-year history. The first two shows were in Chicago, where it has been held four times. Las Vegas holds the title for the most Clean Shows with this year as its sixth turn as host city. New Orleans is the No. 2 host city for Clean with five shows and a sixth coming in 2019. Atlanta follows closely behind Chicago with three shows. Orlando has hosted twice and Dallas once.

Show attendees include store owners, plant operators, technicians, institutional laundry managers, distributors, consultants and buyers. The largest share (94%) of attendees are business owners, executives or managers, according to a past Clean Show survey. The Clean Show brings those business owners and executives face to face with hundreds of industry exhibitors. For companies looking to expand, enhance their leaders’ industry knowledge or upgrade current technology, the exhibit floor is the ideal place for them.