Cleaner Times Magazine history

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in the November 1998 issue of Cleaner Times.

History of the Pressure Washing Industry, Part 21
Educational Resources
by Annmarie Worthington
"If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

No matter how great an industry, education among its members will undoubtedly make it even greater. For many years, there weren't many educational resources available to those in the pressure washing industry. Such is not the case anymore. From schools and Internet resources to books, magazines, and associations, there is a wealth of information and resources available to help business owners become more successful. Here you'll find just a sampling of this vast pool of potential knowledge that has evolved to benefit us all.


Industry magazines were at the forefront of available educational materials, with Pressure Points being the first in a series of publications. The magazine debuted in May 1987, published by Creative Publishers. Initially owned by Dave Maier, the publication changed hands less than a year after its premier. Bob Smith, formerly of Delco, purchased the magazine from Maier, aiming to develop the publication as a tool for the association (CEMA) and the manufacturers, which would, in turn, "supply good, bona fide leads from distributors." The magazine, as with many early industry benefits, "did not focus on the end user," says Smith. "It was really slanted toward the distributor," he continues. And it was well received in the industry. In a letter to the editor, Stephen Phillips, Cleaning Systems, Inc., Richmond, Va., said, "The pressure washer industry has been in major need of such a publication for years, and I'm glad we finally have it."

However, a lot of changes were taking place in the industry at this time, with the distributors calling for stronger recognition. Following the founding of the APD in 1988, several distributors were presented with the opportunity to invest in a second industry magazine - a publication that would be published by distributors specifically for an audience of distributors. The Cleaning Systems News hit the stands, so to speak, in August 1988, although it too ended with the disbandment of the APD in December 1989.

Yet another magazine entered the industry arena in December 1989, joining Pressure Points as the only available publications. Cleaner Times was initially published by Westside Publishing, a subsidiary of Victor/Spraymart , Springdale, Ark. Although the first issue of the magazine received a good response from its readership, there were difficulties in securing regular advertisers because of the affiliation with Spraymart. Some viewed the company as a competitor and were, therefore, uncomfortable with the idea of advertising in a magazine published by the competition.

David Hunt, one of the owners of the publishing company, realized that ultimate success would result from hiring experienced sales people. With this in mind, he asked his sisters, Nelle O'Bryan and Charlene Yarbrough of Advantage Publishing Co., Inc., to assume the responsibility of advertising sales, knowing that, combined, they had experience in sales, as well as in print. However, observing the difficulties Hunt was experiencing with procuring advertisers and the additional problems that would be encountered due to logistics (the sisters were both based in Little Rock, Ark.), O'Bryan and Yarbrough proposed an alternative solution. They offered to purchase the entire publication and move it to Little Rock, thus breaking all affiliation with the supply house. Hunt explains, "Knowing the difficulty of producing the magazine and the resistance by CEMA members to buying advertising from a competitor, it was easy to decide to sell the magazine."

The publication met much success, so much so that it soon became apparent that there was room for only one magazine in the industry. Pressure Points folded soon after Cleaner Times premiered. Smith says, ". . . it was such a small industry that it did not need two magazines. It doesn't need two of anything, a lot of times." Smith, however, saw the positive effects that Pressure Points had on the industry, as it opened the doors for other publications to follow. He says, "I felt like the magazine was a big help. Publications really keep people knowledgeable as far as what's going on, the moves that are being made, the trends, and so on." In addition, magazines bring information to those who may have limited access to educational resources due to geographic location. Smith continues, "Magazines are very helpful in that area. They're just priceless."

In the beginning, Cleaner Times was focused primarily on distributors and manufacturers in the industry, but Yarbrough, who now owns the magazine with her husband, Norris, felt that the contract cleaners deserved the advantages of an educational resource, too. With this in mind, Yarbrough launched a new publication that was aimed totally at the end-user-the first of its kind in the industry. Pressure Concepts premiered in 1993 and continued to be published until 1995, when it was then merged with the existing Cleaner Times. There was finally an industry publication available to benefit everyone in the industry.

Brian Hegarty of Prospect Productions, Neptune, N.J., was working as a contract cleaner at the inception of the magazine and explains the impact of the publication on the industry, "I think that Cleaner Times has brought the entire industry together. It used to be that the industry was so fragmented. You wouldn't have any idea if your soap manufacturer was overcharging you on soap or, if the soap just wasn't cutting it, you wouldn't even know where to go. You had to find these guys by accident or go to a trade show and find them by accident there. Now they're readily available because they advertise in the magazine. Cleaner Times has really brought a lot of valuable information into the industry." Which is exactly what the publication strives to provide. Yarbrough says, "We are here to report good and positive things that will benefit the industry as a whole, and, if it doesn't, we don't print it. Our purpose is to grow the pressure cleaning industry."

Clean County PW

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Don't quote me on this but I believe there circulation is aprox 11,000 and issue. What you can quote me on is that every PWNA member gets this excellent magazine as part of there membership. This is an excellent magazine that I would recommend to all in this industry.