• David Perry

Dream Room closes sales at Gardner's Mattress & Mor

Lancaster, Pa. - A Dream Room at Gardner's Mattress & More here is producing some dreamy results for the growing sleep shop.
     Bedding veterans Jeff Giagnocavo and Ben McClure, who own and operate Gardner's, say the Dream Room - a private room in the store - is a closing tool with a 100% success rate.
     "Here, prior to purchasing, a customer is able to try a mattress in private and make sure it is the right fit," said Giagnocavo, who worked as a bedding producer sales representative for years before moving over to the retail side of the business in March of 2011 when he came to Gardner's. "When we set up these appointments they close 100% of the time at an average ticket of $4,000 and we give the customer a one year comfort guarantee."
      After more than 200 Dream Room transactions, the retailer has only taken one mattress back, he added.
Gardner's is thriving in the mattress business
these days by focusing on its customers, its owners say.
     "We are different from the start of the conversation," said Giagnocavo. "Our focus is on the customer and finding a sleep system that fits their own sleep needs and desires. We seek to find out what the perfect wake up in the morning is like, how they want that to feel, and work backwards from there. We talk a lot about sleep posture, and how it relates to their body and which sleep set best fits how they look to use the bed and their posture within it."
     Gardner's, which has a 6,800-square-foot showroom and 2,000 square feet of warehouse and offices, all under one roof, typically has more than 60 sets of bedding on the floor at any given time. Key vendors include Serta, Tempur-Pedic, Pure Latex Bliss, Gold Bond, Savvy Rest and Carpe Diem, a high-end line from Sweden. That's a mix of
Carpe DiemHigh-end Carpe Diem sleep sets get their own display area.
major brands and some up-and-comers not found on every other sales floor.
     "Recently we closed a $20,000 Carpe Diem sale because of our reputation, and the fact that we had different products than everyone else," Giagnocavo recalled. "That sale took 90 minutes from start to finish. A whole lot of work was done prior to the sale on the customer's part researching the category and researching us, but once the customer was in our store it wasn't selling at all - it was more affirmation of what they had learned about us and Carpe Diem."
     Actually, he continued, that was one of the easier sales the retailer has made, as it can take two to three store visits and a Dream Room appointment for Gardner's to close a $3,000 sale.
     "Either way, for a $20,000 sale or a $3,000 sale, our goal is to help each customer wake up happy and pain-free regardless of how much he or she invests with us," Giagnocavo said. "We don't over-promise but we always over-deliver."
Gardner’s customersThis is the room where Gardner’s customers can try out their new sleep set in private.

     What's working at Gardner's these days?
     "Really anything that Serta puts in front of us," Giagnocavo said. "We are extremely pleased with their factory support and local team. They are squarely focused on producing products people want. No consumer needs another white rectangle option in the $399 to $599 range that over-promises and under-delivers. Serta seems to have a finger on the pulse right now of what the consumer wants, and giving the retailer what he needs to transact business with the consumer."
Pure LatexBliss Latex Bedding LineThis section of the showroom is devoted to the Pure LatexBliss latex bedding line.

     Added McClure, who has worked at Gardner's for more than a decade: "I think we should note that our latex category volume doubled in 2013. I think folks are very much drawn into the foam category through strong memory foam marketing, but can sometimes shy away from that category due to ‘chemical' and heat concerns. While offering a completely different feel than visco, latex provides similar pressure relief, support, and durability, and is an easy sell to those folks turned off by visco."
     Gardner's has a strong history in the specialty sleep arena, going back to its earlier days as a waterbed retailer. In 2001 the retailer took on a then largely unknown line: Tempur-Pedic. And that cemented its position as a specialty sleep retailer.
Gardner’s MattressGardner’s Mattress & More has called Lancaster, Pa., home for years.

     Today the floor mix is about evenly divided between innerspring bedding and specialty sleep, but the sales skew more heavily to specialty sleep.
     Still, Gardner's makes a point of focusing on the customer first and not pushing a particular type of bedding.
     "Our diagnostic/sales choreography really focuses in on what fits the customer best," Giagnocavo said. "If that is specialty, so be it. If springs are the fit, we can satisfy that need as well."
SertaSleep sets by Serta, including these iComfort models, are selling well these days.

     Giagnocavo and McClure are a good fit themselves. McClure had been the right hand man for former owner Jim Gardner for 10 years, and when Gardner decided it was time to move on, McClure thought Giagnocavo would make a good partner.
    The two have not only built the business at Gardner's, they have also launched mattress marketing and sales programs designed to help other mattress retailers grow their businesses. They've also written a book called "Mega Mattress Margins," which offers "77 Quick & Easy Strategies to Thrive in Today's Economy."

David PerryDavid Perry | Executive Editor, Furniture Today

Hi, online readers. I'm David Perry, executive editor of Furniture/Today, and the writer on the mattress beat. Get my musings on mattresses on our web site and on my Twitter feed. And let me know what you would like me to write about in the wonderful world of mattresses.

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