Mattress Firm Founder Discusses Expanding Relationships

Mattress Firm Harry RobertsFor more than 27 years, Mattress Firm has stood as one of the most highly recognized mattress retail stores. Today there are more than 1,100 Mattress Firm stores across the country and the company will be further expanding into South Dakota this month. The driving force behind this expansion is Harry Roberts, one of the Mattress Firm founders, who will open the first of three franchise stores in Sioux Falls. We spoke to Roberts about this expansion, the changing face of the bedding industry, and why relationships are the driving force behind success.

One of the first things Roberts emphasized was that, at its core, people are the forefront of this industry. All three founders of Mattress Firm, along with many of the executives that fill major leadership roles, hail from South Dakota and that strong familiarity is what drove them to this expansion. “While Mattress Firm stores may be new to South Dakota, South Dakota isn’t new to Mattress Firm,” he said. “I’m very excited that by building a presence in our home state, we will be able to provide more employment opportunities, and also offer our wide selection of mattresses and excellent customer service to local customers.”

As large box, super-stores move into the mattress world, smaller retailers that sell mattresses exclusively need to place more focus on strong relationships, Roberts explained. “Customers experience is key,” he said. “Everyone can sell a bed, but only great retailers can create the best mattress buying experience.” In order to do that, Mattress Firm works to maintain a strong connection with not only the consumer, but with the manufacturers and community as well. Opening franchise stores in South Dakota allows their manufacturing partners to reach untapped markets, while also bringing employment and advertising opportunities to the local area. For the consumer, a new Mattress Firm in their community means better access to quality service and support, before and after they make a purchase.

Since opening in 1986, Mattress Firm has set out to provide a unique shopping experience in an upscale environment. The “Comfort by Color” layout of the showrooms allows customers to easily comparison shop and test more than 55 different mattress models. This high quality presentation, though, has led certain consumers to believe that mattress retailers are too expensive when compared to large chain box stores. Mattress Firm wants to dispel that perception. Its showrooms provide a wide variety of brands and price points, in addition to the educated RSAs who can help consumers navigate the offerings, even as the collections are updated and the offerings change. For Roberts, it’s not about simply stocking the shelves with low-cost products or the latest technology; it’s about creating the best environment for consumers to find exactly what they need. When a retail shop is set up in a way to help them do that, everyone wins.

“It feels good to be able to serve the community I grew up in. Mattress Firm has changed my life as well as countless others. I believe in this company because it’s about people—the people that work here, the people we partner with and the people we serve,” express Roberts. “This has been an incredible journey and I’m so happy that I can bring it home to South Dakota.”

The first of three franchise stores set to open in South Dakota will open on November 20, 2013 in Sioux Falls, SD.

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About Mattress Firm: Houston-based Mattress Firm is a high growth specialty retailer, recognized as one of the nation’s largest specialty bedding companies, offering a broad selection of both traditional and specialty mattresses, bedding accessories and related products from leading manufacturers. With more than 1,100 stores across 28 states, Mattress Firm has the largest geographic footprint in the United States among mattress specialty retailers. Mattress Firm offers customers comfortable store environments, guarantees on price, comfort and service, and highly-trained sales professionals. The company recently ranked #7 in Workplace Dynamics’ 2012 “National Top 150 Workplaces” Survey.