USA: Cool Clean Technologies, which now owns the Hangers CO2 drycleaning business, plans to move the former franchise set up to a licencing system. It believes this will help both profitability for participants and the expansion of the concept.

Cool Clean, a spin- off company from CO2 machine manufacturer Chart Industries, acquired the assets of Hangers from Micell at the end of the December 2001.

Licencing programme

Answering questions recently from LCN about effects of the change in ownership, Cool Clean president and ceo Jon Wikstrom said: “We are moving forward with a licencing programme which will show a significant level of market penetration in the USA as well as the beginning of efforts in Europe and Japan.”

He explained that Cool Clean would focus on cost-effective equipment and service and on streamlining the entire cleaning process to help the licencees reach profitability much sooner.

Over several months, the company had surveyed existing licences and held one-to-one discussions and met new licensees. These processes would help to determine the level of service that Cool Clean would offer.

Asked how Cool Clean planned to develop and extend the Hangers business, Mr Wikstrom said: “The key to broader acceptance of our CO2 cleaning technology is to help licensees reach a profitable business model as quickly as possible. We have many licensee applicants and will focus our efforts on developing this business model, which will allow faster penetration.”

Promoted on merit

Would Cool Clean continue the aggressive anti-perc slant used by Micell? Mr Wikstrom said: “We believe CO2 should be promoted on its own merits and should be coupled with excellent service for optimal growth.”

As a licensor, rather a than a franchisor, the company would not dictate this policy to licencees who would market their business in a manner suited to their territory.

Broad opportunities

“With that said, we believe there are a substantial number of people both within and outside the drycleaning industry that recognise the opportunity to present to the market an approach that emphasises the excellent service with an undisputed environmental cleaning process,” continued Mr Wikstrom.

“CO2 has additional benefits to the consumer in extended garment life due to a low temperature cleaning process which generates less lint. It also has the ability to clean garments, such as leathers and silks, that may have been outsourced from traditional cleaning solvent operations.”

He added: “Our approach is to market within the industry and outside to those that have a desire to market these features to their customers. We have no intention of alienating the drycleaning industry.”