FT. WORTH, TEXAS — Hundreds of cowboy hats forming a giant star hanging high overhead the entranceway greeted attendees to the Southwest Drycleaners Association (SDA) Cleaners Showcase, which wrapped Sunday here at the Ft. Worth Convention Center.
Attendee Danny Bahlman, owner of Bahlman Cleaners, San Angelo, Texas, has a plant and four drop stores in the region.
He arrived in town expecting “a regional show where I could experience more access to exhibitors,” giving him more time to discuss equipment and the state of the industry. He wasn’t disappointed.
“This is a unique show,” Bahlman says. “You get one-on-one time and more personal time here with vendors than some bigger shows. I enjoy this show for that reason.”
Exhibitors indicated that, overall, the show had plenty of substance with a steady flow of attendees both Friday night for the special sneak-peek opening and socializing, and on Saturday. Plenty of people got reacquainted during Friday’s buffet, with laughter filling the air.
On Saturday, the first full day of the show, the show floor was busy. Virtually every booth had dry cleaner attendees talking with company representatives.
Over a loudspeaker came announcements of product and equipment demonstrations going on in a special area toward the front of the hall. There were giveaways, too, with one lucky attendee winning a shotgun as a prize.
NIE’s Scott Simpson, one of his company’s fabricare insurance specialists, noted shortly after the ribbon-cutting on Saturday that “when the doors opened, the attendees streamed in and the traffic was solid.” He added that “the show is good so far.”
“The Texas area is good for us,” says KJ Sung, owner of Computer Connections. “It’s a good place to do business, and we have customers in this area and they are here at this show.”
While she spoke with American Drycleaner, several cleaners walking by greeted her and said hello, with one giving her a thumbs up about the show.
Tom Stites, sales manager at Unipress, stood near a group of people watching his company’s various live equipment demonstrations. Asked how the show was going, he says, “This show is good for us. You can learn a lot just by watching the equipment being operated.”
Booth workers continuously demonstrating shirt pressing and ironing drew several groups of attendees. Up and down the aisles, outside several booths, there appeared to be plenty of traffic.
Dave Perry, regional sales manager for Leonard Automatics, reiterates what others have said about a good show, adding, “This is our third show ever in dry cleaning for our pressing equipment. We are seeing lots of interest here at this show.”
Keynote speaker Glenn Shepard discussed real examples of how to better manage employees. He woke everyone up early in his presentation when he vigorously jumped on stage to ask loudly, “Let’s see a show of hands, how many of you have employees who are psychos?!”
Hands shot into the air throughout the laughter-filled audience numbering more than 100. Everyone quickly became fully engaged in his animated, high-energy speech.
During his talk, which centered on how to fix lost productivity by managing troublesome employees, Shepard connected to the audience with expressive mannerisms. As he mimicked inappropriate employee behavior, attendees responded with nods, grins and applause.
After the keynote concluded, audience members were overheard saying as they exited through the lobby that his talk was “real-world” and “no BS.”
Breakout sessions followed in rooms along the main entranceway to the exhibit hall and were noticeably filled with attendees listening intently to industry leaders speaking on a variety of topics.
A nugget that Shepard shared during his keynote also seemed to fit the show itself: “Managers get employees to do what they are suppose to. Leaders get them to do more!”
Many attendees took note of the star-shaped decoration covered in cowboy hats and hanging from the ceiling in the entranceway. Some took photos, while one gentleman strolling past tugged at his own hat as if to doff it. It was a fitting nod to this show in the Lone Star State.