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Cleaning in the USA

Last month I attended the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) convention in Baltimore, MD. It was held June 23rd to 25th at the McCormick Place Convention Center. Approximately 2500 people attended and visited the 376 companies that had 544 booths in the 53,000-sq. ft. exhibit hall. I attended because knowing what building owners and managers are doing gives me a better understanding of that side of the industry and how what’s happening there will impact cleaning contractors and suppliers. I would mention that one sanitary supplier (Leonard Paper Company of Baltimore, MD) had a booth at the show. Other exhibitors included NiSSCO/, Afflink, Ettore, and Cleaning Management Magazine; along with about a dozen contract cleaning firms including ABM, Coverall, Service Master and Jani-King.

A couple of interesting booths I came across were: GumBusters- a franchise that uses dry vapor to remove gum from the sidewalk. Another thing I noticed was a number of booths selling portable heart defibrillator devices, with the suggestion that they should become standard accessories in commercial buildings, much like fire extinguishers. I also noticed a number of booths selling IAQ/mold removal and remediation services.
I spent a lot of time in the exhibit hall and attended several excellent seminars and presentations. From one of the best presentations, here are a few key points that you may find interesting.
Emerging Trends in Real Estate.

This was a presentation by Maria Sicola with Cushman & Wakefield, New York, NY.

  • Real Estate markets are in a corrective period now. Rents spiked 1-2 years ago driven by high tech/ demand which is now flat. Rents are coming down, but higher now than 1996 period.
  • At this time the U.S. economy is in a slow down, not a recession, but this could change by the end of the fourth quarter of 2001.
  • Slow down in high tech and economy has created a wait and see posture during the corrective period. Most economists expect continued, but slower growth than in the past.
  • Is this a blip or an extended slow down. That’s the unknown. In the last 4-5 years we saw an artificial spike in rents due to high tech/ demand, then a backing off and we are now in an adjustment period.
  • All states are experiencing some slowdown. Some states and areas (auto and non-high tech manufacturing areas) are actually in a recession while some states are experiencing above average growth. The Northeast is one of the strongest performers, the West is surviving the storm, the South is mixed, and the Midwest is lagging the country.
  • Unemployment is at 4%, 6% is bad.
  • Manufacturing jobs and areas have been the hardest hit so far. They have lost thousands of jobs. The number of jobs is down to 17.8 million verses a high of 18.8 million in Dec. of 1998.
  • It takes 6 to 9 months for federal rate cuts or other action to trickle through the economy.
  • Multi-family and industrial markets are doing better than office and retail markets in most areas and nationwide. The slow down is now hitting shopping centers and big box retail stores. Suburban rental rates are significantly less than central business district rates.
  • Central business districts and suburban areas are slightly on the rise.
  • Construction is down from the 90’s, it picked up in 1999-2000, expect it to be off 8% to 16% during 2001 to 2003 period.
  • Tremendous amount of sub-lease space is coming on the market as a result of the tech slowdown.
  • Another unknown is what short and long term effect increases in energy and fuel costs will have on the economy.

INTERCLEAN/ISSA Convention 2001
Don’t miss it in Orlando, FL October 16 to 19, 2001. It’s open to everyone. Plan to attend. For more info: visit or call 1-800-225-4772.

Preventive Cleaning: “Vison” A product you should know about.

Vison is a new high-tech topical coating that keeps moisture and soil from sinking in or adhering to all types of surfaces. Vison creates a clear, yet invisible ultra-thin mono-molecular film on the surface of materials that protects and makes them easier to clean.
According to the manufacturer, the product, which was developed in Switzerland, is based on nano-technological research and is non-toxic, biodegradable and non-flammable.

For more information contact: Technical Supplies Corporation, in Everett, WA, Ph- 425-258-2631.