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Mattress Firm founder to open franchised stores in South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Harry Roberts, a Mattress Firm founder, South Dakota native and now a franchisee, will open the first of three stores in his home state next month.

The first 5,000-square-foot store is slated to open Nov. 16 at 4207 W. 41st Street in Sioux Falls. Roberts said he plans to follow with the soft opening of a 15,000-square-foot warehouse, showroom and clearance center in January, and then open a 4,900-square-foot store Sioux Falls in February if the state's winter weather cooperates.

With the South Dakota opening, the Top 100 retailer will be operating in 30 states.

While the 1,000-plus store Mattress Firm was started in Houston in 1986, Roberts and co-founders Paul Stork and Steve Fendrich all hail from South Dakota.

Roberts currently operates nine franchise stores in the Tulsa, Okla., market and a dozen more in Iowa. Both Fendrich, chief strategy officer, and Stork, divisional retail specialist manager in the merchandising department, returned to the Mattress Firm corporate office in 2011.

Roberts "has been the driving force behind bringing the company back to South Dakota and establishing a store presence in the state," the company said in a press release.

"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," Roberts said.

Roberts wouldn't disclose his investment and said it was too early to project sales for the market, but he noted average annual sales per store for his Tulsa and Iowa stores is well over $1 million.

In addition to Sioux Falls, Roberts said he's evaluating additional South Dakota markets, including his home town of Mitchell. Plus, he owns the franchising rights to Sioux City, Iowa, and is evaluating opportunities there.

He noted that while Mattress Firm will be new to South Dakota, the state isn't new to the bedding specialty giant, which has hired many University of South Dakota graduates who hold several key management positions.

Mattress Firm stores typically carry more than 55 mattress models from brands such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons and Tempur-Pedic. Store design is centered around the retailer's "Comfort by Color" concept, which allows customers to browse and compare different styles and brands based on the comfort level of the mattress: firm (yellow), plush (orange), pillow top (red), contoured (green) and personalized (blue).

Mattress Firm President and CEO Steve Stagner called Roberts "one of the most talented businessmen that I know."

"He established a truly unique company and store concept that continues to grow and resonate with customers around the country. He exemplifies hard work, dedication and focus on our customers, and we are very pleased that he will be leading the new stores in South Dakota."

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