CHICAGO — Could you hear it? That bold-busy-upbeat sound emanating from the West Coast?
That was the sound of your garment care industry at work — and play — in mid-August at Fabricare 2018, hosted by the California Cleaners Association at the breezy, bright Long Beach (Calif.) Convention Center.
There were four aisles full of exhibitors, hundreds of drycleaning owners and operators, and lots of chit-chat, deal-making (no doubt) and generally real good times right by the big, blue Pacific Ocean.
I walked a lot (my feet hurt), talked a lot (my voice was cracking by the end), grinned a lot, and listened to many drycleaning owners, and exhibitors, converse in those bustling aisles.
“I’m here for information, we both are, for products and equipment,” say two local drycleaning owners, pausing with me, midway down the crowded second aisle.
“This is my first show,” one owner adds, smiling, “and like it very much. I’m looking for finishing equipment. It’s here. I’ll find it for sure!”
Another drycleaning owner from Oregon stops me to tell me he reads American Drycleaner all the time. He’s down here at the show, he quickly explains before moving on, to learn all he can, soak up the California atmosphere, and interact with the industry.
Yet another drycleaning owner from Northern California sits a moment to tell me, “The show is great for information-finding, but it’s really all about...” He pauses and clears his throat. “Networking! Isn’t it really?”
There were several speakers across three days. Keynote Krista Clive-Smith kicked it all off with this resounding message: “Create authenticity. Sell your persona,” she told three dozen in attendance at her speech. Then attendees and exhibitors seemed to go out and do just what she advised during the show.
Many exhibitors said the event was solid. “So good,” mentioned one veteran of industry shows.
A new drycleaning owner from Sierra Vista, Ariz., Flora Castillo, here with her father Manuel Romero, stopped and paused for a photo with me, arms full of show materials and big smiles. Then she summed up Fabricare in one happy breath: “It’s just so great, full of information I can use, and I can sorta feel the drycleaning industry’s heartbeat. I’m lovin’ it!”