American Mattress owners open iComfort stores
Line combines gel and memory foam
David Perry -- Furniture Today, October 14, 2013
Both of those lines are at the iComfort stores in Chicago operated by American Mattress, the largest retailer in the Serta-supported network of sleep shops, many of which use the America's Mattress banner.
There are nine iComfort models in the store at Woodfield Mall here and "they are all doing well," said Kenna, who said the beds "hit all feels and price points." A particularly strong seller is the Epic, a model that comes with an adjustable base and retails at upper-end price points.
Key features of the iComfort stores are kiosks that let consumers begin the shopping experience on their own and introduce the various beds offered. A large kiosk at the entrance to the Woodfield Mall store is easily accessible to consumers who pass by.
"Those are silent salesmen," Kenna said. "Consumers can go to the kiosks and get a lot of information. And when the store is crowded customers can go to the kiosks to get started."
"Today's consumers are technologically savvy," added DeMaio.
Mike Kenna, left, and Frank DeMaio stand outside their
The owners show a display of iComfort pillows.
DeMaio and Kenna sit on one of nine iComfort models
The kiosks also provide "a cleaner look" for the store, Kenna said. The kiosks provide a wealth of information and offer a nice alternative to a store filled with point-of purchase materials, he said.
The iComfort stores here mark yet another retail expansion by American Mattress.
When Kenna and DeMaio bought American Mattress in 1998, the chain consisted of 14 stores. Today the store count stands at 96, with locations in Chicago land, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Indianapolis.
The retailer expects to hit the magic 100-store milestone early next year.
"Being family owned, we deliver a level of service our competition can't compete with," DeMaio said. "We have the best real estate and the best salespeople."
"We are taking care of our customers," said Kenna. "We saw a great opportunity to expand in Chicago. There were a lot of open areas where we were advertising."
American Mattress is looking for additional locations in Chicago, a market that is seeing an influx of competitors.
Can the Chicago market support more mattress retailers?
"Everyone seems to think so," Kenna responded. "We think there will be a shakeout. The strong will get stronger and the weak will go away."