Members attending the annual general meeting of the National Association of the Launderette Industry, held in London recently, were told by chairman Paul Stafford that NALI had enjoyed a challenging but successful year. Mr Stafford informed members that the association had been strengthened by the success of a number of initiatives, raising expectations for continued success in 1999—the 50th anniversary of the opening of the first launderette in the UK.

In the year reviewed, NALI had been actively involved with representations to government on the introduction of the planned national minimum wage; and the monitoring of CORGI’s introduction of a new identity card and its Gas Fitting Operative Certification Scheme.

Encouraged by an upturn in membership—a number of visitors to NALI’s stand at the Clean UK exhibition took out subscriptions—Mr Stafford expressed his hopes that planned initiatives in 1999, including the launch of a web site, would encourage further support.

“I hope that NALI can assist in further improving the standards and quality of service its members are able to offer their customers,” said Mr Stafford.

“We will be promoting the fact that through membership, businesses will be better informed and able to operate more professionally. If we all work to this aim during the year ahead, then the ‘value’ of the association’s logo will be still further enhanced,” he said.

Re-elected to serve as chairman for the year 1998/1999, Mr Stafford will be supported by the following officers: president —Mr Offord; vice-chairmen—Mr Lawson and Mr Pressinger; treasurer—Mr Trapp.

NALI’s constituent bodies are represented on the Council of Management by the following: group operators—Mr Rawlinson and Mr Stafford; NALI direct members—Mr Lowery; LOLA—Mr Lawson, Mr Pressinger, Mr Wayne; NOLA—Mr Webb; Scotland—Mr Webb; suppliers—Miss Somerville (Armstrong), Mr Hayes (Electrolux), Mr Sanson (Launderette Sales Agency) and Mr Scott (JLA Group).

Coin-Op Expo ‘99 gains support

A number of the launderette industry’s major suppliers have already indicated their support for Coin-Op Expo ‘99—the dedicated launderette equipment and services exhibition—which will help mark next year’s 50th anniversary of the opening of the first launderette in the UK.

Electrolux Laundry Systems, the JLA Group, Essex Coin-Op Controls and Stor-Pak will be amongst the leading exhibitors. Supported by NALI and staged by the Credo Business Group the event will also feature a special pictorial and archival exhibition devoted to the history of the UK launderette industry.

The one day show has already attracted media interest with the press and other media representatives indicating their likely attendance to gather copy for planned news stories, features and TV programmes.

During the course of the show exhibitors and visitors will be invited by the organisers to drink a toast to the industry—its past and its future.

Coin-Op Expo ‘99 will be held at the Royal National Hotel, Bedford Way, London, on February 17, between 10 am and 7 pm. The organisers chose the Royal National Hotel to provide visitors with easy access to the event with three main rail terminals—Euston, St Pancras and Kings Cross—and Russell Square underground station all within comfortable walking distance. The venue is also directly served by buses from Waterloo and Charing Cross railway stations. For those travelling independently, a car park is located beneath the hotel with further parking facilities close by.

Anniversary promotions considered

Mr A J Offord, president, has been appointed to lead the NALI team—other members are Mr K Lawson, Mr R Pressinger and Mr R Rawlinson—responsible for planning and promoting events to maximise publicity for next year’s 50th anniversary of the UK launderette industry.

Consideration is being given to the production of special window display material for members’ shops, including rosettes and sashes. In addition to a press release prepared for national newspapers, television companies and radio stations, a special story will also be prepared for members’ own circulation to local newspapers.

An approach is also planned to the producers of the TV soap “Eastenders”—which features a launderette used by the residents of ‘Albert Square’—to ask if an appropriate reference to the industry’s anniversary can be included in the script.

Amongst other possible promotional events being considered are a national quiz—for completion by launderette customers—based on the events of 1949, and in-launderette celebration parties for regular customers.

Excessive customer complaints resisted

Not alone in the retail sector at being subjected to excessive and, on occasions, false customer claims for compensation, a number of launderette owners are, it seems, prepared to fight these in the Small Claims Court, informs NALI.

Experience suggests, says the association, that faced with the costs of a legal action—but more importantly with the onus on having to substantiate their case with documentary evidence—many customers are unwilling to press their claims.

NOLA’s annual 1-day exhibition date set

NOLA (Northern Launderette Association) will be holding its annual one-day exhibition on Sunday 16 May, 1999 at the Copthorne Hotel, Clippers Quays, Salford Quays, Manchester. The show will be open to the public from 11 am until 5 pm.

Anyone wishing to exhibit can purchase stand space for £200 including VAT. A £50 deposit is required at the time of booking. Readers wishing to obtain visitor and exhibitor information should contact Martin Wertheim on 0161 796 5337.