Over 160 delegates and 18 supplier companies, including some from as far away as Germany and Italy as well as from across Canada and the USA, attended the Alberta Textile Care Association’s (ATCA) triennial Convention, held at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the heart of the Rockies.

The exhibition had a wide range of equipment on display with several suppliers conducting live demonstrations. Delegates were out in force and suppliers were kept busy throughout the evening.

President, Glen Nelson formally opened the seminar sessions and introduced keynote speaker Wayne Wudyka, the chairman and CEO of the Certified Restoration Drycleaning Network, who took as his theme: “Build a Multi Million Dollar Drycleaning Business”.

This was a fascinating insight into how he had diversified from a small drycleaning business into a worldwide organisation providing specialist services for flood and fire damaged articles.

Wudyka said the most limiting factor for growth was the individual. He cited four essential criteria – sales and marketing expertise; financial stability; access to capital and, above all, the willingness to recognise your limitations.

The presentation on health and safety served as a wake-up call to the industry. Leslie-Jo Chancellor, a health and safety officer with the government of Alberta, explained the Workplace Code of Practice, introduced in 2004, and highlighted particular areas appropriate to drycleaners. Ian Hooper, a consultant with Workplace Partnerships of Alberta Human Resources and Employment (AHRE) explained how AHRE could work with the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) and the drycleaner through a certification scheme. Benefits from the scheme were greater employee satisfaction coupled with a reduction in lost time from accidents/injury and direct cash compensation by reductions in the WCB premiums.

Jim Beecher, executive vice president and chief financial officer of R. R. Street spoke on the importance of gaining and keeping customers whilst maintaining a reasonable return on investment in his presentation “The Financial Impact of Marketing and Discounting Decisions”. He acknowledged that there might be a place for cut-price services but suggested that real returns and growth were only like to come from value and quality.

Bruce Lee from Calgary, who specialises in motivational training, presented ideas on leadership and getting the best out of yourself and your employees.

Chris Allsbrooks, IFI textile analyst, showed cleaners how to rise to the challenges of today’s problems, providing an insight into the many garment problems occurring in cleaners throughout North America. Chris also reminded delegates of the Award of Excellence scheme launched at the Orlando Clean Show – very appropriate, as the first recipient of the Award in Canada, Kristine Johnson from Calgary, was in the audience.

An open forum allowed delegates to ask questions on any topics that they wished.

Both delegates and suppliers enjoyed the Gala Night dinner, which started with the Pipe and Drum Band of Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) announcing the entrance of the president and guests.