Co-op, condo vendors show their stuff at expo

The "laundry doctor" (left) has me intent on capturing every word. (Photo by Lee Kent)

Some 270 exhibitors crammed nearly three entire meeting floors of the New York Hilton at the Cooperator newspaper’s 25th annual Co-op & Condo Expo this week.

There, you could hear lawyers in a “seminar” drone on about the right time for a board to seek legal advice (always); pet bedbug-hunting dogs; collect all manner of sweets (rugelach, anyone?); pens and pamphlets; win tickets to Mets or Yankees games; get the lowdown on boiler repairs; and avoid eye contact with as many vendors as possible.

You also could obtain information that was useful, about which more below.

One of five seminars on topics ranging from energy efficiency to financial best practices.

Personnel trying to buttonhole attendees of Tuesday’s free event included — take a deep breath — those selling goods or services relating to two-way radios, accounting, air ducts, arborists, architects, engineers, attorneys, lenders, boilers, chimney repairs, compactors, computer options, construction, disaster restoration, doors, electrical contracting, elevators, energy, engineering, environment, exteriors, fire prevention, fitness equipment, flooring, fuel oil,  lobby renovation, insurance, intercoms, interior design, investment services, janitors, laundry services, pest control, plumbing, property management, recreational facilities, roofing, security, signage, storage, telecommunications, tenant screening, water tanks, waterproofing, windows and wood restoration.

Luckily, I was able to avoid talking to all but the smallest number of them as I harvested a load of swag from a host of exhibitors, whose targets were said to be board members, managing agents, real estate professionals, and co-op and condo “decision makers.”

The one individual who stopped me in my tracks was one Eddie Cuevas, who seemingly reveled in wearing a white coat that carried the moniker of “Dr. Laundry.”

It is his job, said he, to race to buildings that have service emergencies with his company’s (SDI Laundry Solutions) washers.  Invariably, such emergencies involve overflowing water.

According to Eddie, service calls that are not routine occur only five or 10 times year for what he said was the company’s more than 1,500 buildings.  He acknowledged being relatively new to his job, so I think his statistics were just a wee bit (unintentionally) exaggerated (or, to be precise, minimized too).

From Eddie, I learned some surprising things about cleaning clothes, though anything might surprise a certain someone whose relationship to apparel at home is limited to buying and soiling it.  In any case, the laundry doctor dispenses a sort of facsimile “prescription” that specifies the following:

  • Use no more than 1/8 cup of detergent
  • No rubber-back bath mats in washers
  • No sneakers in washers

No matter how big the load, Eddie says, one-eighth of a cup is plenty, preferably liquid detergent.  If using powder, dump the stuff directly into the tub and do so before adding clothes, he explains.

“The biggest mistake people make is too much soap,” Eddie told me, attributing the excess to ring around the collar and stains caused by deodorant.

Free gum!

Another issue is overfilling front-loading washers in particular, especially with towels and quilts.  When that occurs, the water won’t drain, and you probably well know where it will flow when the door is opened.

As for the loot that earnestly smiling vendors proffered on my rounds, I have lots of pens, Hershey kisses, Post-its and even an extra umbrella among a spectrum of other products.

If you’d like something, just let me know.

But do understand that you’ll be opening yourself up to the kind of sales encounter that I so scrupulously avoided at the expo.

Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
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