A jan/san distributor’s approach to hand drying does not have to be an either-or proposition. Although some distributors don’t offer dryers, many choose to make them available to customers upon request. They don’t aggressively push dryers, but they also don’t lose out on a sale if someone wants one.

“Even the though the majority of their business is always going to fall into paper towel, offering hand dryers still satisfies a smaller niche market,” says DiCocco. “It’s a small market, and the costs to advertise are high, which is probably why a lot of companies don’t get into dryers. But all business is good business.”

That’s why Maintex includes hand dryers in its catalog, even if they represent only a tiny fraction of the company’s overall sales.

“We like to have a variety of options available for our customers to choose from,” says Silverman. “It’s not up to us to decide what our customers should buy. It’s up to us to tell them the benefits and pros and cons of all the options.”

In fact, Silverman says she’s seeing more facilities taking a similar approach. They are splitting the difference, too, and offering both towels and dryers in restrooms.

“They want to do what’s economically viable for them, but they also know there are customers who prefer paper towels,” says Silverman. “In the same way we offer both, they are doing the same thing.” 

Becky Mollenkamp is a freelance writer based in St. Louis.

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Hand Dryers Can Offer Additional Hand Hygiene, Sustainability, Cost-saving Options