Furniture/Today salutes three Retail Giants of Bedding
David Perry -- Furniture Today, May 29, 2013
CHANDLER, Ariz. - Two furniture stores and a bedding specialist were honored as Retail Giants of Bedding at Furniture/Today's biggest-ever Bedding Conference here earlier this month.
The award winners were Gallery Furniture of Houston, HOM Furniture of Coon Rapids, Minn., and BedMart of Wilsonville, Ore. The three were saluted for excellence in mattress retailing at a gala awards dinner that was one of the highlights of the Bedding Conference, which had record attendance of more than 350 and once again drew strong reviews from participants.
(For our exclusive 37-page issue on the Retail Giants of Bedding, click here.)
The awards dinner was sponsored by Comfort Solutions, whose president, Dave Roberts, welcomed conference attendees in a video introduction.
Noting that the conference theme was "Connecting with Consumers," Roberts presented a lighthearted look at how Comfort Solutions does focus group research to connect with mattress consumers. Roberts played the roles of the various consumers, including a young mother, another woman, a biker and an exercise enthusiast. He capped off his virtuoso performance by performing a rap song.
Each of the winning retailers was saluted in a video tribute.
Gallery Furniture's dynamic CEO, Jim McIngvale, was honored for his long commitment to the mattress category, embodied in his persona of Mattress Mack, a retail superhero who touts the importance of mattresses.
McIngvale was inspired to create that character almost 30 years ago after he saw a retailer wearing a tire to pump up his tire business. So he donned a mattress suit and became Mattress Mack, a name that he still answers to these days.
He's built Gallery Furniture into a furniture and bedding powerhouse with a homegrown mix of relentless and clever promotions, charitable events and educational programs. And bedding has been the foundation on which he built the business. "Our mattress sales have fueled the business the whole time," McIngvale said.
Brothers Wayne and Rod Johansen of HOM Furniture were honored for their unwavering commitment to the mattress category, which started decades ago when they operated a waterbed retailer.
When that category encountered choppy seas, the Johansens switched to traditional beds and home furnishings and morphed their business into HOM Furniture, a full-line home furnishings retailer.
And they haven't stopped there. The hard-charging Johansens, with three retail brands in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin, have added Gabberts, a high-end, design-oriented specialist, and Dock 86, a warehouse concept, to their portfolio of stores.
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, chairman. Rod is CEO and president.
Also honored at the awards dinner was BedMart President Steven Stone, whose family history in furniture prepared him for his career in retail.
He opened his first sleep shop more than two decades ago and has grown the business one mattress at a time, he said. His independent spirit and a thoughtful approach to the mattress business are paying big dividends, bedding observers say.
Today Stone's mattress empire is thriving. Based in Wilsonville, Ore., he operates 28 stores in Oregon and Washington under the BedMart Mattress Superstores and America's Mattress banners. And more growth is coming: Stone expects to open six to eight more stores in the next 12 months.
The awards dinner was preceded by an outdoor cocktail reception, sponsored by Serta.
See the May 27 print issue of Furniture/Today for complete coverage of the Bedding Conference.