Bedding Industries of America mourns the loss of its predecessor company’s founder Gerald Gershaw, who died Sunday at 95. Gershaw was the founder of Therapedic International and its first plant, which subsequently was transitioned to Stuart Carlitz in 2001. Today, Bedding Industries of America has grown from its Therapedic roots to a multi-brand leader in the mattress industry with 17 domestic and 60 international licensees.
“Jerry was a visionary in licensing for our industry. He understood the power of independent manufacturers working together to build a brand and deliver consistent quality and service to retailers around the country and world. He was a tough businessman, but his unwavering dedication and commitment to his customers led him to achieve great success,” said Stuart Carlitz, president and chief executive officer of Bedding industries of America and Eclipse International.
Gershaw was the founder of Therapedic Sleep Products Inc., the founding factory of Therapedic International, which was formed in 1957 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Today, Therapedic Sleep Products Inc. is doing business as Bedding Industries of America.
Gershaw signed the first Therapedic licensee Gelbart Mattress Co. in New York. That partnership was followed by the signing of Therapedic Midwest, which was owned by Martin Galex and remains in operation by the same family. Galex’s nephew, Jeff Sherman, is the chief executive officer of the company now operating as The Bedding Group in Chicago.
A trailblazer in building networks, Gershaw signed a third licensee in Puerto Rico while on his honeymoon with his wife at the time Charlotte. From there, the duo traveled the world selling and licensing the Therapedic brand to more than 50 factories spanning the globe.
Carlitz became a 50-50 partner with Gershaw in 1995, and together they built Therapedic Sleep Products Inc. into one of the premier mattress factories in the country. In 2001, Carlitz acquired Gershaw’s stake in the company, and today, remains the sole owner of Therapedic Sleep Products Inc. Therapedic International is a top 10 mattress brand managed by Norman Rosenblatt, chairman, and Gerry Borreggine, president and chief executive officer.
Gershaw served a number of terms on the boards of the International Sleep Products Association, the Greater Metropolitan Furnishings Association and the New York Home Furnishings Association. A retired U.S. Air Force pilot who served in World War II, Gershaw flew 36 missions over Germany and Eastern Europe during the war.
About Eclipse International: North Brunswick, New Jersey-based Eclipse International has been making mattresses since 1866. Known for its design innovation in creating advanced sleep products, the company has an extensive global licensing network that distributes mattresses under seven brands – Eclipse, Eastman House, Van Vorst, Ernest Hemingway, Pure Talalay Bliss, Velika and BIA. A well-established leader in the bedding industry, Eclipse designs products crafted with high quality components, including latex, memory foam, gel and eco-friendly materials. The company holds a number of patents that deliver superb support throughout the product line. Today, the company has 77 licensees worldwide.