SOURCE: Winning Brands Corporation

February 20, 2009 10:27 ET

Winning Brands Is a Smart Choice for Dry Cleaners -- Again

North American Media Is Challenged to Discover What Is Possible Without Solvents

BARRIE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - February 20, 2009) - Winning Brands Corporation (PINKSHEETS: WNBD) (FRANKFURT: WMU) ( reports that its Solvent Free Solutions Team has completed another site conversion and installation of the SMART™ Wet Cleaning alternative to conventional dry cleaning. With today's announcement that Stop and Clean Dry Cleaners of Hamilton, Ontario has re-launched as a solvent-free operation, North America's dry cleaning industry may be reaching a technological tipping point. The successful conversion of an operation so "typical" to the industry as Stop and Clean symbolizes that a brighter future for this industry may be possible. Environment advocates and governments in North America have expressed growing concern about the effect of conventional dry cleaning solvents in their communities -- and those governments are introducing strict control regimes.

The SMART Wet Cleaning System has been best known for its highly successful conversion of a fleet of cruise ships to solvent free dry cleaning on-board; a setting where water quality is a top priority. Regulators and others are noticing that the SMART Wet Cleaning System may be passing beyond any reasonable doubt of it being a totally viable alternative to the conventional dry cleaning process used for decades -- but without its controversies.

"There are still thousands of old fashioned dry cleaning operations everywhere," says Solvent Free Solutions Team Leader George Loney, a veteran in the field for years. "It's obvious how much the typical traditional dry cleaner can benefit financially from today's new focus on the environment." Loney points out that the dry cleaning plant conversion in this case has several characteristics which make it a useful model because it is so recognizable as the "local dry cleaner" familiar to us all. "You've got to give such early adopters credit for being real leaders in their community. For example, Salim Lawji, the owner of Stop and Clean, deserves recognition. He's ahead of the curve. This type of new environmental initiative is exactly what is being talked about on the news right now -- the environment as an opportunity for people, rather than as a problem. This is the practical example -- this is what policy makers should be studying," Loney emphasizes.

Why is there such enthusiasm by Loney for the completion of the most recent installation? It may be the startling statistics for reduced operating costs and improved eco-responsibility. The wastewater is now so much safer that it can be considered ordinary grey water for municipal recycling. Stop and Clean's consumption of electricity and gas used in equipment operation will decline on a pound-for-pound basis, as well as delivering financial and ecological benefits. The shop's capacity will double from approximately 35 lbs per hour to approximately 70 lbs per hour, yet the physical footprint of the equipment is smaller. The removal of dry cleaning solvents from the operation of Stop and Clean Dry Cleaning bodes well for its future -- a decision that could give a new lease on life to dry cleaners everywhere affected by suddenly stringent controls on the use of traditional solvents.

Loney was himself a dry cleaner using Perchloroethylene before discovering the advanced cleaning solutions manufactured by Winning Brands. It was with Loney's help that three key elements were combined to deliver the world's first verifiable and consistently satisfying professional wet cleaning alternative to solvent-based dry cleaning for all garments normally brought to the dry cleaner. This includes the best suits, ties, dresses, evening gowns and other garments considered "Dry Clean Only." That term is now technically obsolete, the newer concept being "Professional Cleaning Only."

Collaboration between Winning Brands' earlier operational unit, The Soap Factory, and Loney resulted in the SMART Wet Cleaning System. It combines advanced cleaning agents from Winning Brands (that replace the Perc) with appropriate washing, drying and finishing equipment. The result is a breakthrough for dry cleaners that permits any garments that would ordinarily be considered "Dry Clean Only" to be cleaned with plain water and the SMART Wet Cleaning solutions. Until recently, 100% substitutability with professional wet cleaning was considered impossible. Yet, in the case of Stop and Clean Dry Cleaners and others who convert their operation to this system, it is no longer necessary to hire licensed Hazardous Waste Removers to dispose of sludge, or to obtain certification from government that dry cleaning staff has been trained in the safe handling of what would otherwise be considered a hazardous solvent. The finished garments are as good, or better, than if dry-cleaned conventionally.

The little known paradox of conventional dry cleaning is that although dry cleaning itself uses no water, most dry cleaning equipment currently in use consumes a vast quantity of water for cooling purposes. Loney's own dry cleaning operation went from using 180,000 gallons per month down to 40,000 gallons per month after conversion. Loney puts it this way -- "The public has no idea. With some old fashioned operations, it's basically like having a 1/2 inch water pipe flowing with the tap turned completely on continuously during operating hours."

The concept of professional wet cleaning is known in the dry cleaning industry but has been misunderstood as to its capabilities because not all "systems" are alike. As a result, even to this day, major North American media outlets make the same basic mistake in their stories and profiles of obtaining comments about the viability of professional wet cleaning from the people who know it the least -- unconverted dry cleaners or those with systems that deliver less than 100% substitutability. The perpetuation of this misinformation has left the dry cleaning industry confused and demoralized as to whom to believe.

"That's the easy part," says Eric Lehner, CEO of Winning Brands Corporation, the company which manufactures the replacement cleaning agents. He invites North American media to finally put their misconceptions to rest. "Bring us your 'Dry Clean Only' garments and we will clean them with water in the SMART Wet Cleaning System. We will provide you with the addresses of authorized locations that are properly trained, and you can see for yourself. Then, finally and at last, North Americans can see that professional wet cleaning has evolved to a state of competence that is not currently conveyed in news stories. The public and the industry deserve better information. It's not a conspiracy -- they just didn't know," says Lehner of the missed opportunity for media to be up-to-date on this issue.

Lehner credits George Loney and his colleagues in the Solvent Free Solutions Team for their leadership and accomplishments. "It takes the hands-on approach of people like Bob, George, Jim, Marty, Mike, Alex and others too numerous to honour properly -- they really deliver the goods. They've faced industry skeptics down in technical arm-wrestling that ultimately exhausts the other side. But there is no remaining dispute possible when the evidence stares you in the face in the form of finished garments," says Lehner, adding, "...some skeptics just never stop trying -- they are simply beyond help."

Winning Brands Corporation developed and manufactures SMART™ Wet Cleaning solutions. Winning Brands' production unit has recently qualified for listing with the U.S. Government Central Contractor Registration service and now holds a spot in the U.S. Army & Air Force Exchange Service system. Its products are suitable for use by individual consumers, industry or government. Winning Brands' mission is to replace hazardous chemicals in widespread use with safer alternatives. SMART™ Wet Cleaning products are distributed by Solvent Free Solutions, Inc. Winning Brands also manufactures other emerging alternative cleaners such as Winning Colours Stain Remover, CLEAN1, and KIND Laundry Products.

Certain statements in this news release that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may be identified by the use of words such as "anticipate," "believe," "expect," "future," "may," "will," "would," "should," "plan," "projected," "intend," and similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Winning Brands Corporation (the Company) to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The Company's future operating results are dependent upon many factors, including but not limited to the Company's ability to: (i) obtain sufficient capital or a strategic business arrangement to fund its expansion plans; (ii) build the management and human resources and infrastructure necessary to support the growth of its business; and (iii) competitive factors and developments beyond the Company's control. SMART™ Wet Cleaning Solutions is trademark of Solvent Free Solutions Inc. Winning Colours, Winning Colors, CLEAN1 and KIND are trademarks of Niagara Mist Marketing Ltd.

Contact Information

  • Information:
    Winning Brands Corporation
    Office Direct (705) 737-4062
    11 Victoria Street, Suite 220A
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada L4N 6T3

    Solvent Free Solutions Inc.
    41 Amelia Crescent
    Belwood, Ontario, Canada N0B 1J0
    Toll Free: 1-866-300-8042
    Phone: 1-519-787-7416