Remarks by Ambassador William A. Heidt at the ChemDry Grand Opening

Phnom Penh
May 8, 2018

Mr. Joe Manuszak, Vice President of International Development, ChemDry International; Mr. Sokny Sao, Managing Director of ChemDry Cambodia; his wife and business partner, Mrs. Moniveark Sou; distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen.

Thank you for inviting me to participate in this grand opening of ChemDry in Cambodia. I am delighted to see another world class American brand in Phnom Penh – and hopefully, in the rest of Cambodia soon.

There are a few reasons for my excitement – but perhaps the biggest one is because, quite honestly, I think ChemDry is bringing the right product to this market at exactly the right time.
As you all know, over the past ten years, Cambodia has experienced impressive economic growth. Disposable incomes have increased substantially in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, and other areas across the country

A large part of this growth has been driven by the tourism and real estate sectors. Just look at the numbers: in 2010, Cambodia attracted just over 2.5 million tourists. Last year that number more than doubled to 5.6 million.

Increasing tourism, in turn, has led to the development of new hotels, resorts, movie theatres, and other entertainment complexes—including this very hotel.

Cambodia’s commercial and residential real estate sectors show the same sort of growth. In Phnom Penh alone, the city added over 20,000 condominium units in the last three years. If you drive around Sihanoukville, you’ll see at least twenty buildings under construction that will be twenty-plus stories.

So why am I telling you this? Of course, it’s because all of these new buildings – condos, movie theatres, resorts, office towers – they all have carpeted floors and upholstery.
And they’re all potential customers for ChemDry.

So that’s why I think this terrific American franchise is entering Cambodia at the perfect time. It’s bringing a world class product into a rapidly growing market, where consumers’ incomes are increasing, and providing.

That sounds like a winner to me.

Almost 40 years ago, ChemDry’s founder Robert Harris figured out how to use carbonated water – the same thing that puts bubbles in soda – to clean carpets. He did so at a time when the entire industry utilized steam cleaners.

Since then, ChemDry has filed patents, designed industry-leading equipment, and introduced environmentally friendly cleaning solutions – each of which sets it apart from others in the industry.
I understand that you can actually drink that cleaning solution! Joe, are we all going to drink a toast of it?

By thinking differently, by being innovative, Robert Harris created a product that cleaned better, used less water, and worked faster than his competition. And now – ChemDry is the largest carpet and upholstery cleaning franchise in the world.

I would also like to commend Sokny Sao and Moniveark Sou for identifying the potential of ChemDry in Cambodia and, on their own, working to bring ChemDry here.

I’m not sure how many of you are aware, but their search for ChemDry didn’t start at the U.S. Embassy or at a huge international trade show. It started with an idea for a cleaning company, a Google search, and then a lot of phone calls and follow-up. Just a few years later, here we are.

I applaud them both for their entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen, and for their role in promoting the economic relationship between the United States and Cambodia.

I wish them, as well as ChemDry Cambodia, somnang lahoh now and in the future. Ohkun chraaln. Thank you everyone.