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BREAKING NEWS: Messe Frankfurt Acquires Clean Show

Retains Riddle & Associates to manage 2019 event

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany — Messe Frankfurt, the German-based trade fair organizer responsible for Texcare shows in Europe and Asia, announced via press release overnight that it has finalized a deal to purchase the U.S.-based Clean Show from its five sponsoring associations.

Terms of the acquisition were not announced.

Atlanta’s Riddle & Associates, which has been managing Clean Shows under contract since 1993, will manage Clean 2019 on behalf of Messe Frankfurt. That show is scheduled for June 20-23, 2019, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Clean Show attendees and exhibitors will see “no changes” in New Orleans from prior shows, according to Ann Howell, who handles public relations for Riddle & Associates.

Riddle & Associates founder and President John Riddle tells American Trade Magazines there has been “little to no conversation” with Messe Frankfurt regarding management of Clean Shows beyond 2019. There have been discussions about Riddle possibly consulting on future shows. Based on Messe Frankfurt’s vast trade fair experience and resources, Riddle says he believes the new owner will manage future shows itself.

The previous sponsors—Association for Linen Management (ALM), Coin Laundry Association (CLA), Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI), Textile Care Allied Trades Association (TCATA), and TRSA, the association for linen, uniform and facility services—will “maintain their close involvement” with the show, Messe Frankfurt says.

“Based on its success organizing international events for the textile care sector, Messe Frankfurt has the expertise and experience, as well as relationships with key exhibiting partners, to ensure the continued growth and development of the Clean Show,” says Joseph Ricci, Clean 2019 chairman of the Clean Executive Committee (comprised of executives from the five sponsors) and president of TRSA.

In a press release to its members, TCATA described continued association involvement as “including serving on an Advisory Board to provide input on future Shows, promoting and supporting the Show, sponsoring a booth, and in a variety of other ways.”

“It is important for TCATA members to know that the exhibitor package plan and the discounts on exhibit booths under the TCATA Plus One program (members of TCATA plus one other association get the lowest rates available) will remain a valuable benefit for future Shows,” says TCATA President Leslie Schaeffer. “We anticipate that the transition to a new owner will be seamless, and that both exhibitors and attendees will largely have the same experience they had at past Shows.”

“The decision to explore options for selling The Clean Show was something we undertook very seriously,” Linda Fairbanks, executive director of ALM, writes in a news post on her association’s website. “This wasn’t a decision reached overnight. Our goal is to continue to improve the value to attendees and secure a platform that best meets the needs of our exhibitors.”

Messe Frankfurt is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organizer with its own exhibition grounds. With over 2,500 employees at some 30 locations, the company generates annual sales of around 661 million Euro ($750 million U.S.). Its wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds; trade fair construction and marketing; personnel; and food services.

“With the Clean Show, we purchased America’s biggest trade fair for textile care and gained another module for our worldwide network of events for the textile care sector,” says Dennis Smith, managing director, Messe Frankfurt North America. “We now hold trade fairs in all major economic regions and offer synergistic effects for both exhibitors and visitors.”

When contacted Thursday, Smith told American Trade Magazines that other press releases were scheduled to go out Friday and that he would be happy to address follow-up questions posed by the publications “early next week.”

In addition to Texcare International in Germany, Messe Frankfurt has been organizing Texcare Asia since 1998. The Gulf Laundrex presented by Texcare is staged annually in Dubai. These events are rounded off by numerous Texcare Forums, which bring local buyers together with international manufacturers.

The Clean Show—formally the World Educational Congress for Laundering and Drycleaning—is the largest textile care exposition in the world that features working equipment and industry education. It was conceived in the 1970s as a means to consolidate individual association shows, which proved expensive and time-consuming to industry suppliers and manufacturers.

Clean is staged every two years in one of a handful of American cities, including Las Vegas, New Orleans, Atlanta and Orlando. Its last five shows, dating back to Clean ’09, have averaged 435 exhibitors, 197,646 net square feet in exhibit space, and 11,046 attendees (based on data supplied by Riddle & Associates).

Besides the 2019 show in New Orleans, future Clean Shows previously announced are June 10-13, 2021, in Atlanta; May 18-21, 2023, in Orlando; and June 9-12, 2025, in Las Vegas.

The Messe Frankfurt press release states that “future events are planned for Atlanta and Orlando in 2021 and 2023 respectively.”

Meanwhile, industry reaction to the news is trickling in:

Mike Floyd, president of laundry equipment manufacturer Continental Girbau: “Continental Girbau Inc. supports the sale of the Clean Show to Messe Frankfurt for a number of reasons. A global leader in trade show and exhibition management, Messe Frankfurt will bring the latest strategies, marketing and technologies to the show – enhancing exhibitor and attendee experiences. It is my understanding that the CLA and Clean partner associations will remain active in their roles as key show contributors and sponsors, and that signature social gatherings and numerous educational sessions will remain significant Clean Show highlights. I believe that Messe Frankfurt will continue work to expand the show’s reach to the many laundry and textile care channels in North America and internationally. These are all good things for our industry.”

Hannes Saeubert, vice president of sales and marketing, North American Commercial, Alliance Laundry Systems: “The Messe Frankfurt purchase of The Clean Show is a positive development for the event. I would expect that attendees and exhibitors will continue to enjoy all their favorite aspects of the show, while Messe Frankfurt will bring a variety of technologies and the latest strategies for show management to enhance the experience for all, as well as broaden its global reach.”

Jaimie Johnson, marketing manager for laundry equipment manufacturer Dexter Laundry: “The Clean Show provides us a great opportunity (to) present the latest Dexter products and innovations while connecting with our customers from around the world. As a long-time exhibitor with the Clean Show, we look forward to the 2019 event in New Orleans and to being a part of this exciting transition. We’ve enjoyed successful shows in the past with Messe Frankfurt at both of their Texcare shows in Germany and China, (and) I’m confident they will bring that same success to future Clean Shows as well.”

Chad Lange, sales director of commercial laundry, Whirlpool Corp.: “With Messe Frankfurt’s strong history of organizing international events, including several within the textile care industry, it is logical that they would make a great fit for such an industry-impacting event as The Clean Show. We look forward to benefiting from their expertise and experience, and are excited to exhibit during the 2019 Clean Show. The continued growth and development of this event will help the industry further demonstrate innovative and compelling solutions to our global customers.”

Rick Kelly, vice president of sales and marketing for laundry equipment maker Pellerin Milnor Corp.: “We have worked in the past with Messe Frankfurt for the Texcare shows in Frankfurt and Asia. Our dealings with Messe Frankfurt over the years have been professional and consistent throughout. We look forward to working with Messe Frankfurt for each of the Clean Shows going forward.”

Tim Maxwell, president of GreenEarth Cleaning, which markets an environmentally friendly drycleaning process: “We’ve been happy with the professionalism shown by Messe Frankfurt and the European show, and we’re looking forward to working with them to provide innovation to the Clean Show. Their expertise in managing other shows as well, we think, is a harbinger of good things to come with the Clean Show and we look forward to working with them.”