Bigger is better at Get-A-Mattress
David Perry -- Furniture Today, September 9, 2013
ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. - Nestled in this city near the edge of the Pacific Ocean, the Get-A-Mattress showroom here explodes with mattresses.
There are some 170 to 180 sleep sets, arranged along massive aisles that stretch across, around and through the vast retail spaces on the store's second floor.
Jimi Breazeale, the home furnishings veteran who is president of Get-A-Mattress, describes the 30,000-square-foot mattress department as "the largest sleep store in the USA," one that may be the industry's best-kept secret.
"Bigger is better," Breazeale responded. "That old saying is true. The consumer today can see 500 mattresses on the Internet, yet they go to the average sleep shop and see only 30. The new generation of consumers finds that a letdown."
Those new generation consumers find Get-A-Mattress a welcome stop, a place where they are afforded a vast selection of brands (some 20), prices (from low to high end), and sleep technologies (including air, innersprings, memory foam, latex foam and spring and foam combinations). And that selection is backed with a friendly, customer-oriented sales staff.
"It's all about laughter," Breazeale said. "We laugh all day long."
Laughter, he said seriously, is a potent sales tool. Happy, comfortable consumers are more likely to have a good shopping experience and find the sleep set best for them, according to Breazeale.
He runs the store here with Hector Amaya, vice president, whom he's known for almost three decades. The two worked in the fashion business before entering the home furnishings field. They've owned and operated Get-A-Mattress here for the past four years.
"We are doing phenomenally well," Breazeale said. "We've gotten 11 new competitors in our trading area in the last six months. Every rep who calls on us says that Get-A-Mattress is doing great."
Those reports are encouraging competitors to jump into the market, Breazeale figures. But Get-A-Mattress is holding its own; business is up 12% this year.
One reason for the store's success, he said, is a veteran sales force that skews toward females. "Women feel safe in our store," he said. "There are always women around. It is a special atmosphere to buy a mattress."
That contrasts, he said, with "a guy who smells like cigarettes" in other sleep shops. That's a turn-off for consumers considering "one of the most intimate purchases they make," Breazeale said. "Our customer is a woman. Everything has to be just right for her."
Many times the husband doesn't care about the mattress purchase, Amaya said. "A lot of men say they can sleep on anything," Breazeale added.
Get-A-Mattress focuses on connecting with consumers by talking about the power of a good night's sleep. "How did you sleep last night?" is the question that is posed to everyone who calls the store. That's a great place to start the process of finding the right mattress, Breazeale said.
Customers are treated with respect.
"I want to treat our customers the way I want my own family to be treated," Breazeale said. "We bend over backwards to help our customers. And the customer is always right. This is a profitable business. I want to take care of my customers. Retailers who are mean or greedy, I don't know what their issues are."
With more than 170 sleep sets on the floor at any one time, this is a retailer who believes in the power of selection. The mattress brands include all of the big names - Serta, Sealy, Simmons, Tempur-Pedic and Stearns & Foster, and many Tier Two brands, including Aireloom, Dormeo Octaspring, OMI, Paramount/Cannon, Pure LatexBliss, Southerland, the Response Sleep System by Sharper Image, Somnium, Technogel, WorldBed, Restonic, ComfortAire, Springfield/Silver-Rest, Englander, Natura, FXI and Definitive Rest.
But not stopping there, the retailer also offers an extensive assortment of upholstered furniture, with key brands including La-Z-Boy, Southern Motion, Palliser and Broyhill, among others. The upholstery has prompted the retailer to add "Get-A-Sofa" to its name.
Customers who enter the 45,000-square-foot store are greeted with upholstered furniture. The mattress department is upstairs. "No one wants to lie down on a bed when people are walking by," Amaya explained.
The beds are arranged by technology and type. Signs note the location of natural beds, alternative sleep sets (where the Tempur-Pedic beds are located) and spring and coil beds. The lines coexist in a vast sea of mattresses.
"I think that ‘large' works," Breazeale said. "Most people in the mattress industry are used to small stores. No one thought out of the box. But the whole choice thing is happening these days. People want choices and they deserve choices."
And that's why Get-A-Mattress exists.