News round-up

Mattress Gallery files Chapter 11

Retailer Mattress Gallery, with headquarters in Commerce, Calif., has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Gallery Corp., which does business as Mattress Gallery, submitted its plan of reorganization in early November to the United States Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

The 53–store chain had been in talks with Mattress Firm, a Houston–based chain that had signed a letter of intent to acquire Mattress Gallery as part of Mattress Firm’s goal of entering the southern California market. The company announced the deal was off in October, with Mattress Firm Chief Executive Officer Gary Fazio saying “the timing was not quite right.”

Mattress Gallery’s reorganization plan includes a debtor–in–possession financing facility to permit the retailer to continue its operations while in the bankruptcy process.

Jim Ristas, Mattress Gallery CEO, said that Mattress Gallery intends to continue its normal operations, as well as its relationships with its principal vendors during and after the completion of the bankruptcy process. He also said he expects to remain at the helm of the company.

A list of Mattress Gallery’s creditors includes Sealy, Selther, 1800mattress.com, Spring Air, Simmons, Maxim Mattress, Protect–A–Bed, Tempur–Pedic and Leggett & Platt.

U.S. House introduces CPSC bill

Rep. Bobby Rush, D–Ill., has introduced the Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act (H.R. 4040). It is similar to the CPSC Reform Act (S. 2045) introduced earlier this fall in the Senate.

Unlike the Senate bill, the House bill does not attempt to eliminate federal pre–emption, create whistleblower rights or encourage states to sue manufacturers. It would increase maximum penalties to $10 million; the Senate bill increases them to $110 million.

The House bill does, however, contain a provision that could restrict U.S. exports of mattresses and other consumer products to foreign countries. The House Energy and Commerce Committee scheduled a hearing on the bill for Nov. 6.

Like their counterparts in the Senate, the House leadership appears eager to bring the legislation to a vote before the holiday recess.

The International Sleep Products Association is part of a coalition organized by the National Association of Manufacturers that has numerous concerns about both bills and is working with lawmakers to make the provisions less onerous.

ISPA encourages members of the mattress industry to express their concerns to their senators and representatives.

Enriquez to distribute AFT

Advance Fiber Technologies, a supplier of sewing threads to the bedding industry since 1973, has appointed Enriquez Materials & Quilting Inc. in Commerce, Calif., as its exclusive distributor for California and the southwestern region of the United States.

“Combined with the tremendous success of AFT’s FR thread program, the selection of Enriquez gives bedding manufacturers convenient warehousing and delivery of the complete line of AFT thread products from an established and respected source,” said Peter Philips, president of AFT, which is headquartered in Hackensack, N.J.

The thread lines, including FR products, are available through Enriquez sales and service personnel from its Los Angeles and Phoenix locations.

United Feather, Proneem partner for top–of–bed

United Feather & Down, based in Des Plaines, Ill., has partnered with the Proneem company, a European supplier, to offer a top–of–bed treatment designed to protect fabrics and fillings from bacteria and dust mites.

The encapsulated product is derived from the neem tree, which originated in India and now grows in the drier regions of more than 50 countries. United Feather & Down says Proneem is nontoxic and dermatologist–tested to be hypoallergenic, long–lasting and safe for the environment. The effectiveness of neem comes from compounds called limonoids that are found in its seeds, bark and leaves. The compounds have proven antiseptic, anti–viral, anti–inflammatory and anti–fungal properties, the company says.

“With proven efficacy over the years, neem extract is a powerful yet extremely safe anti–microbial,” said Brandon Palmer, United Feather & Down co–president.

The company’s top–of–bed products treated with Proneem will be available in retail stores by the end of the year.

Online U.K. retailer buys competitor

Internet Memory Mattress Ltd., an online retailer of memory foam mattresses, toppers and pillows based in Staines, Middlesex, United Kingdom, has acquired

Memorymattress2go and relaunched its Web site. Memorymattress2go will operate as a division of Internet Memory Mattress.

The company says the purchase enables Internet Memory Mattress to cover all aspects of the online memory foam market in the United Kingdom by offering its exclusive New Horizon label on the Web site www.internetmemorymattress.co.uk and the memory foam brand Flexcell (manufactured by Breasley Foam) through the Web site at www.memorymattress2go.co.uk site.

“We are now significantly structured to offer top–quality, British–made, 21st–century memory foam sleep products to suit all shapes, sizes and budgets with free, next–day U.K. delivery,” said director Linda Buzzard. “Internet Memory Mattress will concentrate on promoting their exclusive New Horizon range, and Memorymattress2go will offer the Flexcell range of memory foam sleep products, but with Coolmax mattress covers fitted as standard.”

Tempur–Pedic offers podcasts

Lexington, Ky.–based bedding maker Tempur–Pedic International has created a series of podcasts that explore the connection between sleep and a balanced life.

“Consumers are more interested and are taking a more active role than ever before in researching wellness issues. We want to be a resource to provide them with information about the importance of sleep,” said Rick Anderson, president of Tempur–Pedic North America.

Dr. Barry Bittman, a neurologist, chief executive officer and medical director of the Mind–Body Wellness Center and author of Reprogramming Pain and Maze of Life is the featured guest on the first of the five–part series. “The Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep” gives consumers insight into the overall importance of a restorative night’s rest and stress reduction.

Dr. Jodi Fidler, a chiropractor at Davis Chiropractic in Minneapolis, an expert in nutritional therapy and mother of two, is the featured guest on the second podcast. “The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep for Kids” provides key insights and sleep techniques for parents to ensure their children are receiving the right amount of sleep. Both Bittman and Fidler are members of the Tempur–Pedic Wellness Advisory Board.

Tempur–Pedic is releasing one podcast each month. Other podcast topics and featured guests include “Relieving Stress during the Holidays” with Dr. Howard Fidler, “Healthy New Year’s Sleep Resolutions” with Terra Wellington and “Sleep Tips for Daylight–Saving Time” with Dr. Barbara Phillips. They can be found at the company’s Web site at www.tempurpedic.com.

Vegas ‘recharging center’ to help reporters

In keeping with its 2008 consumer education theme of showing how sleep can improve performance, the International Sleep Products Association will operate a Media Recharging Center at the Las Vegas Market, Jan. 28–Feb. 1. The center will be operated in partnership with the World Market Center, which runs the biannual furniture market.

The center will enable journalists to book a nap on their choice of sleep surface and be briefed by experts on sleep and performance during their visit to the 2,600–square–foot center in Building B of the World Market Center campus.

Specifically, credentialed journalists will be able to schedule their own personal “recharging session”—either a 20–minute or 40–minute nap—from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the market.

They will be able to choose from a number of mattresses to recharge their bodies and minds—helping to improve their coverage of the market.

“What a better way to demonstrate to journalists the effects of sleep on performance than by letting them experience the message. This hands–on program creatively shows reporters what our industry knows all too well—that sleep is integral to your optimal daily performance,” said Dick Doyle, ISPA president and chief executive officer. ISPA members will be donating mattresses and accessories. “Besides bringing a well–deserved rest to hard–working journalists covering the market, the ISPA Media Recharging Center will enable them to experience the importance of sleep for a healthy and productive lifestyle.”

Journalists taking advantage of the center also will have the opportunity to speak with Bert Jacobson, a professor and head of the School of Educational Studies at Oklahoma State University.

Jacobson has expertise in sleep deficiency as it relates to daytime activity, social interactions, mood, and loss of work productivity. He has researched the connection between mattress quality and musculoskeletal discomfort, improved sleep quality and stress symptoms.

Survey: Canadians face energy crisis from poor sleep

Canadians are on an energy roller coaster ride, according to a study released by the Better Sleep Council Canada. It found that Canadians’ energy levels fluctuate widely from morning peaks to afternoon crashes to evening recoveries. And one in four Canadians is officially sleep deprived.

Using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, a tool employed by sleep professionals around the world to diagnose sleep disorders, the research found that 23% of Canadians are sleep deprived, as judged by their likeliness to doze off or fall asleep in situations such as sitting and reading, in a theater or while in a car.

“Our research shows that many Canadians are overcompensating for something that is lacking in the bedroom,” said David MacDonald, vice president of the Environics Research Group, which conducted the survey. “If we’re a nation that is nodding off, rising and crashing throughout the day and week, we’re abusing, not managing, our energy patterns.”

According to the survey, 37% of Canadians report they are most energetic between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. After that, most people’s energy levels crash in the late afternoon, and then get a boost after dinner.

Many Canadians also suffer from a severe case of “the Mondays,” with 31% saying Mondays are their sleepiest days.

Better Sleep Council Canada reminds Canadians that “consistency in the bedroom” can help maintain energy levels.

Said BSC Canada spokesman Gary Baskerville: “Good quality sleep is critically important to be able to function well during the day and smooth out those energy peaks and valleys.”

Verlo stores aid veterans

When 8–year–old Ashley Rome overheard her mom, Julie, discussing the high cost of obtaining everyday items, like bar soap, in Iraq, Ashley decided to organize a drive to get such items to her uncle, 2nd Lt. Kevin Eaton, and others serving in Iraq.

The Rome family contacted a local radio station in Milwaukee, Wis., requesting the station make public service announcements regarding the drive. The station agreed as long as there was a drop–off spot in place. Enter Verlo Mattress Factory Stores.

Verlo Mattress Factory Stores of Greater Milwaukee franchise owners Greg Gardetto and Mike Murphy agreed to support the efforts. Julie Rome’s husband, Dale, is a veteran of Desert Storm and also the general manager for Verlo Mattress Factory Stores.

In addition to having all of its Milwaukee area locations accept donations, Verlo Mattress Factory Stores sold Mattress Man plushies for $5 each, with proceeds going toward the purchase of additional items for the drive. Items were collected through early November and were to be sent to troops in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Kingsdown celebrates its widening reach

Bedding maker Kingsdown hosted more than 700 guests during its Global Employee Celebration Weekend in September.

Sales team members representing Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Thailand and the United Kingdom attended, as did employees from each of the company’s manufacturing plants in Knoxville, Tenn.; Lakeland, Fla.; Mebane, N.C.; Muskogee, Okla.; and Winchester, Va. Events were held at company headquarters in Mebane and the nearby cities of Durham and Greensboro.

The weekend allowed Kingsdown employees to come together as part of a global company growing its business in the United States and abroad, said Eric Hinshaw, Kingsdown chairman and chief executive officer.

“I believe it to be essential to make the world small in order to deal on a global scale,” he said. “The best way to make the world smaller is to get everyone together with a singular mission. For this Kingsdown Global Employee Celebration Weekend, that mission was building understanding and camaraderie. In this mission, we were infinitely successful.”

The company exports product to retailers in 25 countries.

Hollandia sleep set entertains

Hollandia International, a manufacturer of luxury bedding based in Philadelphia, introduced its Platinum–Luxe Elite sleep system at the grand opening of the company’s new retail location at The Mall at Short Hills in northern, N.J.

The sleep system combines a high–end mattress set and a home entertainment unit, which includes a 32–inch, flat–panel Sony HDTV that rises out of the footboard at the press of a button. Another button adjusts the bed to a reclining position.

“We want Americans to stay in bed,” said Avi Barssessat, Hollandia chief executive officer. “Nearly a quarter of the country is sleep–deprived, so we designed the Elite sleep system with an HDTV, stereo surround sound and other luxury features that encourage consumers to stay in bed longer and get more rest.”“

All Hollandia mattresses are made of Talalay latex. The company’s Flexible Shoulder Comfort Zone is designed to accommodate side sleepers by adjusting support.

Sleep Country helps foster kids

In its third annual school supplies drive for foster children, employees of bedding retailer Sleep Country USA and community members collected nearly 34,000 items. For efforts such as this to help foster children, the retailer has been honored by the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network with a Daily Point of Light Award. Sleep Country USA founded its foster kids program in 2005. The Daily Point of Light Award recognizes individuals and organizations engaged in voluntary service that find innovative ways to meet community needs.

Ariz. retailer gives beds

Bedding retailer Sleep America kicked off its 10th anniversary promotion by giving away 150 beds to underprivileged Arizona residents. The Dare to Dream promotion, which was conducted with the help of the United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association, encouraged people to submit an entry form at stores or at www.sleepamerica.com. Donated beds were provided by Sleep America vendors Kingsdown, Sealy, Simmons, Spring Air and Tempur–Pedic. Sleep America has 130 employees and 40 stores statewide. It was founded by Debbie Gaby and her husband, Len. The chain was acquired by Sleep Country Canada in 2006.

Select Comfort donates beds

Bedding manufacturer and retailer Select Comfort Corp. has donated 13 Sleep Number beds to the Ronald McDonald House in Harlingen, Texas. The mattresses are valued at about $15,000. The Ronald McDonald House shelters families of children being treated for serious illness or injury at nearby health care facilities. Select Comfort, with headquarters in Minneapolis, has donated 4,700 beds to Ronald McDonald Houses since beginning the partnership in 2001.

Foam association names president

Steve Riddle, president of NCFI Polyurethanes in Mount Airy, N.C., will serve as president of the Polyurethane Foam Association, the trade association of U.S. flexible polyurethane foam manufacturers and suppliers based in Knoxville, Tenn. His term begins Jan. 1. Riddle joined NCFI in 1990 and became president in 2006. He takes over the foam association from Bobby Bush Jr., vice president of foam and environmental technology at Hickory Springs Mfg. Co. in Hickory, N.C. Bush served back–to–back terms as president and will continue to serve on the organization’s Executive Committee as immediate past president.

Verlo opens Watertown store

Verlo Mattress Factory Stores franchise owner Adel Salameh has opened a 3,600–square–foot store in Watertown, Wis. The floor plan allows the store to showcase more than 20 mattresses and futons. “Our new store promises a very inviting, consumer–friendly retail environment,” Salameh said. “We’re also showcasing more of our innovative models.” Salameh also owns Verlo stores in the Wisconsin communities of Delafield and Johnson Creek, as well as a store in Fort Atkinson, in the same building that serves as the headquarters of Verlo and its parent company, VyMaC Corp.

Mattress Store has new location

The Mattress Store, a Serta–only retailer headquartered in Torrance, Calif., has opened a new store in Santa Carlita, Calif., its 13th location. The 2,600–square–foot store carries Serta mattresses, as well as bedroom furniture and adjustable beds and mattresses made by Vanguard. The store, managed by Wayne Terry, is part of the company’s planned expansion into southern California. The Mattress Store has been a Serta dealer since 1996.

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