Industry veterans Terry Spears and Stuart Carlitz have joined two bedding legacies to launch Heritage Sleep Concepts, serving the critical interests of mattress and bedding retailers throughout the South. A new company with strong roots within the bedding industry, Heritage Sleep Concepts is the convergence a family mattress business steeped in decades of tradition.
“This is more than the usual licensing arrangement to engage in business,” Spears explains. “This is a new ‘partnership’ of experienced professionals, bringing two bedding teams together, to address the needs of retailers my family has served for decades.”
The new company is owned and operated by the Spears family, who previously founded and ran Spears Mattress Company, alongside highly qualified mattress veterans that boast over 30 years of experience. This team has previously developed many of the successful mattress products that were sold throughout the South, helping key independent dealers to strengthen their entire sleep gallery programs over a 20-year period.
Teaming up with Carlitz, President and CEO of Bedding Industries of America (BIA) and manufacturer of Eastman House and Eclipse, was a perfect combination, according to Spears. Founded in 1866, Eastman House has expanded into a nationally recognized brand over the years, expanding to include such recognized, high-quality industry brands as Chittenden, Airloom and Dormir Sleep Products. In 2007, the company was acquired by Carlitz’s Mattress Development Corporation, the licensing and marketing arm of Eclipse, Eastman House, Ernest Hemingway and BIA worldwide brands of mattresses. Founded in 1905, Eclipse International is known for combining the brand’s clinically-tested, proprietary and patented mattress component technologies to create high-value mattresses which improve sleep quality, reduce back and neck pain and stiffness. Today Eclipse has expanded to include 21 factories serving six continents.
“Their history, the premium quality of these brands, the handcrafted and proprietary patented features offered by Eclipse and Eastman house are exactly what we need,” Spears said.
“These two brands offer Heritage Sleep the opportunity to build key products at important price points for today’s consumer,” said Bob Ashburn, Heritage’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Dealers are looking for quality and value, and they need to improve their AUSP and GP. Selling them the same major label branded bed as the store down the street without clear product differentiation is not a healthy merchandising strategy for our retailers.”
The launch of Heritage Sleep Concepts and its brand new state-of-the art 60,000 square foot mattress factory in Rome, GA has been two years in the making. Following a series of closures, acquisitions and dis- continuations throughout the South—along with the mergers and consolidations of the top four major mattress brands and the continued buyouts of the larger bedding retail specialty stores—the Spears and Eclipse/ Eastman House alliance sees an opportunity to offer independent furniture and mattress retailers better product merchandising with products that offer quality and real value.
“All of these events and circumstances have come together over the last two years, creating this opportunity for Heritage Sleep Concepts and Eclipse/Eastman House to meet the needs of our customers in the Southeast,” Spears explained.
BIA has been very selective with Eclipse and Eastman House about bringing in mattress factories. With the addition of Heritage Sleep Concepts, these national brands will have a total of 36 factories under license or sub-license across the world. Working closely with the Heritage team, BIA has developed two lines for the company’s key retail customers.
“Our Eastman House line will focus on natural handcrafted features with premium latex and advanced hybrids programs,” Ashburn explained. “There will be a strong ‘power premium’ selection at key price points. The Eclipse product line will focus on the patented Spinal Zone features at mid-price range and premium price points with the Chiro Collection of chiropractic endorsed mattresses. Both of these programs offer compelling features that consumers need, and retailers are looking for.” The lines will range from value products at $299 in Queen to the premium price point topping out at $1999. Queen.”
A legacy partnership grounded in a unique retail opportunity, the launch of Heritage Sleep Concepts is being called the ‘Return of the Sleeping Giant of the South” by Spears.
“Given our opportunities and goals, the Eclipse/Eastman House brands are ideal for our marketing and manufacturing strategy,” he said. “Stuart Carlitz and his management team have done a wonderful job of supporting our efforts during this product launch. Stuart’s commitment to quality was evident as soon as we walked into their plant. They have made it much easier for our team to move forward with a well researched product line that will make sense to our customers at every price point.”