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Bedding crucial to HOM's success

W. JohansenW. Johansen
COON RAPIDS, Minn. - When it comes to shopping for mattresses and furniture in the Upper Midwest, there's no place like HOM.
     That would be HOM Furniture, the powerhouse merchant with three retail brands in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Those brands are HOM Furniture, a full-line furniture retailer; Gabberts, a high-end, design-oriented specialist; and Dock86, a warehouse concept.
     Wayne and Rod Johansen, former waterbed retailers who successfully made the jump into mainstream furniture and mattress retailing , continue to explore new retail frontiers, as their diverse retail empire attests.
     They were honored recently by Furniture/Today, which named the Johansens as Retail Giants of Bedding for 2013 and saluted their achievements at Furniture/Today's Bedding Conference in Chandler, Ariz.
     Mattresses remain at the heart of HOM's world.
     "A vibrant mattress department is key to our total product mix and shopping experience at HOM," said Wayne Johansen, HOM's chairman. "Mattresses are unique because the purchase is an immediate one - provided that you have a well-trained sales staff and the ability to quickly deliver the product to the customer's home.
     "Customers tend not to be ‘looking' for a mattress as much as they are seeking a good night's sleep and the health benefits associated with good sleep. A satisfied mattress customer develops into a longterm furniture customer, which is always our focus," he said.
     HOM is thriving in mattresses because of the dedicated sleep specialists in its Sleep Express mattress departments.
     "Sleep experts are the most important piece of the shopping experience for the customer, who is often not educated in this category," said Rod Johansen, CEO and president. "These are well-trained sales specialists who attend ongoing training seminars, factory visits, and receive field training from vendors."
     Also important are the clearly marked product displays in consumer-friendly presentations. The mattress departments cover 4,000 to 6,000 square feet, with 50 to 60 models on the floor. The idea is to give the consumer a full range of price points, models and feels.
     Promotion is also critical.
     HOM promotes mattresses daily on TV, email, with in store presentations, in online presentations, and in print ads.

All three of HOM Furniture’s retail brands carry Tempur-Pedic beds, shown here on the sales floor at Gabberts.All three of HOM Furniture’s retail brands carry Tempur-Pedic beds, shown here on the sales floor at Gabberts.Serta and Aireloom beds are part of the mattress mix at Gabberts.Serta and Aireloom beds are part of the mattress mix at Gabberts.

     "Since the mattress purchase cycle is short, it's important to have your name out there as the best place to buy a mattress when the customer is ready to buy," Wayne Johansen said.
     "Creative marketing by branding our mattress department with our Sleep Express banner, and offering a wide variety of promotions, such as a king for a queen, free box springs, and even offering free televisions or shopping cards, all help excite the customer and encourage them to purchase from HOM Sleep Express. To make the shopping experience even better, we continually offer special financing offers to help make a better mattress more affordable for every customer."
     HOM offers fewer mattress vendors than its competitors, but gains by offering the complete assortment of each branded product line rather than showing a smaller assortment of those lines, the company believes.
     HOM concentrates its vendor efforts on Serta, and coordinates with the producer's national campaigns in all of its retail presentations. All three of HOM's retail banners also sell Tempur-Pedic mattresses.
     At Dock86, the company has added a private label Dock86 mattress line produced by Serta. It developed its Total Comfort Brand for the clearance departments in its HOM Furniture locations. And to boost price point offerings and add exclusive luxury presentations at Gabberts, the mattress offerings there are complemented with Aireloom and Pure LatexBliss.

Serta’s iComfort memory foam beds are featured at HOM Furniture.Serta’s iComfort memory foam beds are featured at HOM Furniture.Dedicated sleep specialists staff the Sleep Express departments at HOM Furniture.Dedicated sleep specialists staff the Sleep Express departments at HOM Furniture.

     The company is currently developing its displays of adjustable- friendly mattresses on lifestyle bases. And it is refocusing on the linens category as consumers respond to new introductions in that segment.
     HOM has built a reputation for integrity and service through decades of working with customers in Minnesota and surrounding states.
     The company started as a small wholesale and retail import gift business in Sioux Falls, S.D., in 1973. In 1979, the Johansens converted one of their gift shops into a waterbed retail outlet. They rode that wave for several years, and later broadened the product mix to include innerspring beds and oak and leather furniture.
     In 1997, when the Johansens consolidated their operations under the HOM Furniture label, they had completed their 10-year vision to become a super- regional retailer.
     HOM Furniture now ranks No. 34 on Furniture/Today's list of the Top 100 Furniture Stores based on estimated 2012 sales of $212.2 million, up 3.2% from the previous year. It has been an impressive rise for the HOM team.

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