National Clothesline
SEFA’s show takes time to honor  
Buster Bell’s service to the industry
The South Eastern Fabricare
 took its biennial trade show
to Birmingham, AL, last month with
positive results. Fifty-seven companies
exhibited their offerings in the
Birmingham-Jefferson Convention
Complex for three days, giving the
approximate 400 registered attendees
plenty of options to consider for
improving their businesses while a slate
of speakers on topics ranging from
social media and customer service to
how to find good employees provided a
wealth of ideas to the same end. Adding
to that were several clinics during the
afternoons on the exhibit hall floor with
demonstrations and tutorials on shirt
finishing and stain removal.
There was even a tour of the M&B
Hangers factory in nearby Leeds, AL,
for a chance to see how the most
common product in the industry is
A highlight of the weekend was the
presentation to Buster Bell of the
Drycleaning and Laundry Institute’s
Diamond Achievement award, an honor
accorded to just six other individuals.
Bell joined the family business, Bell
Laundry and Cleaners in Spartanburg,
SC, in 1954 and has always been
inquisitive about new methods and
technologies for garment care.
In making the presentation, DLI
President Mike Nesbit said, “He knows
stuff about what is going on before we
Beyond that, Bell is always willing to
share what he knows and to try to help
other cleaners and the industry as a
“If you called him today and said ‘I’ve
got a problem in my cleaning plant’,
he’d be on his way to come help,”
Nesbit said. “Every day you can pick up the phone and learn something from Buster Bell.”
“He has a passion for this business,” Nesbit added. “He’s not doing this to make dollars. He’s
doing it to make our business better because he loves this business.”
The award presentation was one of Nesbit’s last official acts as DLI president. During the
weekend he turned over the gavel to new president Leland Waite of Waite’s Cleaners in Mobile,
AL. Two new directors also began four-year terms on the board: Mark Pollock of Signature
Cleaners in Doylestown, PA as District 2 director and James Shepherd of the Cleaners of Ruston
in Ruston, LA as District 6 director.