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  • David Perry

Retailers give good reviews to ComforPedic Loft

Retailers are giving the new Simmons ComforPedic Loft line good reviews, saying the specialty sleep beds are priced right and should help them generate sales in a tough business climate.

Mattress retailers from coast to coast have seen the line in the Showroom on Wheels, an 18-wheeler set up as a mobile ComforPedic Loft display. The new Loft beds, retailing from $999 to $1,999, are on exhibit in the showroom, which is in the midst of a 10,000-mile tour across the United States and Canada.

Retailers said they appreciate that ComforPedic is bringing the new line to them, helping them save on travel costs. They also appreciate the economy-sensitive pricing reflected in the new line. ComforPedic officials said they have taken advantage of new foam technology to lower the starting price for the line from $1,999 to $999.

The ComforPedic Loft rig recently visited the Radisson in Nashua, the northernmost point on a swing through New England. Retailers from throughout New England converged on the showroom, getting an introduction to the Loft line from Scott Smalling and Butch Webster, the self-proclaimed “foam geeks” who are top executives in Simmons' specialty sleep division.

“I am excited about the line,” said Tara Farrell of Wendell's Furniture in Colchester, Vt. “It appeals to a broader audience. The opportunity to have an affordable specialty product is exciting.”

Farrell also said she liked the mobile showroom, which was more elaborate than she had been expecting.

The story was similar at other stops on the tour.

“The line looks really good,” said Rob Beanland, president of Vermont Bedrooms in Rutland, Vt. “I like the whole program.”

He saw the line when the Showroom on Wheels was parked outside the Simmons factory in Agawam, Mass. “We are talking to guys who know a lot about the program,” he said of ComforPedic executives Smalling and Webster. “It is good for the dealers to see their enthusiasm.”

Also impressed was Tom Wholley, president of Better Bedding of East Hartford, Conn., a 10-store sleep chain. “This is very innovative,” he said, calling the new line “refreshing.”

“I like the product,” added Ken Hapgood, president of four-store chain Maximum Mattress, based in Bedford, N.H. “Simmons gets it and understands the economy.” He said the new Loft products are “very salable.”

Hapgood and Wholley were among the retailers who saw the line at the Agawam showing.

The Cardi brothers — Nick, Ron and Pete — said they liked the Loft line when they saw it outside their sprawling Cardis Furniture flagship store in West Warwick, R.I., a suburb of Providence. Smalling and Webster presented the line to Cardi's sales associates and to the brothers, who said the line is well priced for the current retail climate.

The Showroom on Wheels left Nashua late one afternoon to begin the trip down to the nation's largest bedding retailer, Sleepy's, based in Hicksville, N.Y. The showroom was ready the next afternoon when Smalling and Webster presented the Loft line to David Acker, president, and Adam Blank, chief operating officer.

“This is perfect timing to hit these price points,” Acker said. Added Blank: “This is a lineup that will complement multiple lines in existing Sleepy's showrooms and will add to the shopping experiences for our customers.”

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