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2011 Retail Giants of Bedding Honored

Dave RobertsDave Roberts, left, Comfort Solutions, joins Retail Giants of Bedding Alfredo Lopez and Pedro Capo, both of El Dorado Furniture, Miami Gardens, Fla.; Irv Blumkin, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Omaha, Neb.; Keith Krininger, Bedzzz Express, Birmingham, Ala.; and Glenn Haneberg and Vito Favia, both of Back To Bed, Itasca, Ill.
AVENTURA, Fla. - Two bedding specialty retailers and two furniture stores were named Retail Giants of Bedding for 2011 at Furniture/ Today's Bedding Conference here.
     Honored were Nebraska Furniture Mart of Omaha, Neb., El Dorado Furniture of Miami Gardens, Fla., Bedzzz Express of Birmingham, Ala., and Back To Bed of Itasca, Ill.
     They were saluted for excellence in mattress retailing at a gala awards dinner that was one of the highlights of the Bedding Conference.
     In a video tribute to the winners, Comfort Solutions President Dave Roberts said the four had successfully navigated a challenging and changing consumer marketplace, finding paths to success by taking courageous actions in their markets. Comfort Solutions once again sponsored the awards dinner.
     Furniture/Today also paid tribute to the four Retail Giants of Bedding with awards presentation videos, which are now on the newspaper's website at www.furnituretoday.com/article/538767-Retail_Giants_of_Bedding_honored.php.
     Nebraska Furniture Mart was recognized for its heritage of strong leadership, led by the company's late founder, Rose Blumkin, and her business partner, legendary investor Warren Buffett. Irv Blumkin, who accepted the award, is the current CEO of the company.
     Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway furniture division, which includes 32 units, is the top performer in the mattress industry in productivity per store at $5.9 million in mattress sales per unit. No other retailer comes close.
     Nebraska Furniture Mart runs the mattress category as a standalone business and promotes it heavily. Great prices and a variety of brand names are other keys to the retailer's success, company officials say.
     El Dorado Furniture has been recognized a number of times for its retail excellence and is a standout performer in the rapidly growing Hispanic market, ranking as one of the largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the home furnishings industry.
     El Dorado stresses mattress sales with a separate commission structure for the category, a commitment to categorize mattresses by their feel, and strong merchandising presentations, said Pedro Capo, chief operating officer, who accepted the award and invited several of El Dorado's employees to join him at the awards dinner.
     Bedzzz Express was recognized for its willingness to change its merchandising and store layout programs, a process that was launched by supplier Leggett & Platt a few years ago. L&P conducted a retail makeover at the growing bedding retailer, helping it sharpen its brand identity and step up its commitment to sleep accessories.
     The results have been strong: Bedzzz Express has embarked on a growth campaign and now operates 36 stores in Alabama and neighboring Georgia. Bedzzz Express President Keith Krininger accepted the award. He was saluted by L&P executive Mark Quinn, who joined him on the podium.
     Back To Bed was honored for its commitment to sell better sleep, not mattresses as a commodity product. The retailer has grown to be a powerhouse in the sprawling Chicago-land market by acquiring units from other retailers in the area, and last year added additional units as it remains on a growth track.
     Back To Bed principals Glenn Haneberg and Vito Favia spoke during the awards dinner.

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