National Clothesline
Ownership of the Clean Show, which has been in the hands of five U.S. trade associations, is
passing to a German company with extensive experience organizing conventions and trade shows
both in and outside the textile care industry.
The sale should not affect the upcoming Clean Show planned for New Orleans this June. The
sale price was not disclosed.
German-based Messe Frankfurt, the show’s new owner, is the world’s largest trade fair,
congress and event organizer with its own exhibition grounds. Many industry members are
familiar with its Texcare event which it has produced every four years in Frankfurt, Germany,
since 1956.
In addition to Texcare International, Messe Frankfurt has been holding Texcare Asia, which
recently merged with China Laundry Expo, since 1998. Together, the two events offer an annual
product show for textile care in China.
Messe Frankfurt also recently purchased JET Expo, a Paris trade fair for the French-speaking
markets. Also, Gulf Laundrex is presented by Texcare and held annually in Dubai.
Clean Show sold to German firm
The company also organizes numerous Texcare Forums, which bring local buyers together with
international manufacturers.
Wolfgang Marzin, president and chief executive officer of Messe Frankfurt, said, “With the Clean
Show, we have purchased America’s biggest trade fair for textile care and gained another module
for our worldwide network of events for the textile-care sector. We now hold trade fairs in all
major economic regions and offer synergistic effects for both exhibitors and visitors.”
He added that Messe Frankfurt will be organizing the Clean Show in cooperation with the five
U.S. trade associations that are the former owners: the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute, the
Textile Care Allied Trades Association, the Coin Landry Association, the Association for Linen
Management and the Textile Rental Services Association.
Riddle & Associates, the company that has been managing the show for many years, will
continue its involvement and will manage the upcoming show in New Orleans on Messe
Frankfurt’s behalf.
“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,” said Joseph Ricci, chair of
the Clean Show executive committee for 2019.
As part of the sale, the five current trade association sponsors will serve 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.
TCATA President Leslie Schaeffer noted that “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. 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 Clean Show concept began in 1975 when several industry trade associations decided to
work together to put on a single show rather than each doing separate shows. Following that
show, three additional sponsors joined the group to form the World Educational Congress for
Laundering and Drycleaning, and today’s Clean Show was born in 1977 with its first show in
By 1992, the show, which had been managed by Coin Laundry Association, had grown in size
and stature to the point that the sponsors decided to engage professional show 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.
The show continued to grow through the ’90s, hitting high marks for attendance (21,000) in
Las Vegas in 1997 and number of exhibiting companies (621) in Orlando in 1999. Those numbers
began falling through the early 2000s, bottoming out at 9,902 attendees and 412 exhibiting
companies in New Orleans in 2009.
Since then, the trend has reversed with increases in both attendance and number of exhibiting
companies. The 2017 show in Las Vegas drew 12,563 attendees and 472 exhibitors. As of mid-
December, 359 companies had signed on to exhibit at the upcoming June 20-23 show in New
Last year, Trade Show Executive magazine listed the Clean Show as among the 50 fastest
growing shows of 2017. The show was ranked in all three categories of the awards competition —
net square feet of exhibit space, number of exhibiting companies and total attendance — one of
the few trade shows that exceeded the level of growth to be named in all three.
Messe Frankfurt, with its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, is owned by the City of Frankfurt
(60 percent) and the German State of Hesse (40 percent).
The company said it is expecting 2018 sales of about €715 million ($881 million) The 490-plus
events held around the world under the Messe Frankfurt umbrella were attended by almost
102,000 exhibitors and an estimated 4.5 million visitors the firm said.
In a year-end report, Messe Frankfurt’s CEO Marzin said, “We have further globalized our
brands and stepped up the pace of our worldwide acquisition activities. At almost 150 trade fairs,
some 102,000 exhibitors – more than ever before – put their trust in us and invested in
interaction formats. Messe Frankfurt is a pillar of strength in the fast-moving digital age.”
“We have an expansion strategy tailored specially towards the Group and are taking it
resolutely to the next level,” he added.
Messe Frankfurt operates two venues at its Frankfurt base – the Congress Center and Kap
Europa – as well as having over 90 congress and conference halls on its exhibition grounds. In
2018, the Kap Europa congress centre was booked out for the entire year.
The company has more than 2,500 employees at 30 locations around the world. Messe
Frankfurt’s North American subsidiary, Messe Frankfurt USA, has an office in Atlanta, GA, and is
headed by Dennis Smith.
Messe Frankfurt USA produces several textile-related events in North America, including
Texworld USA, a semi-annual event held in New York for fabric buyers, designers and
merchandisers, Home Textiles Sourcing Expo, Techtextil North America, Texprocess Americas,
and Texworld USA.