Sommex founder Ricard buys back Canadian mattress maker

Spring Air Sommex founder Normand Ricard

Spring Air Sommex founder–and new Rev owner–Normand Ricard

Private equity group Bedford Capital has sold Toronto-based mattress maker Rev to Normand Ricard. Forty years ago, Ricard founded the company as Sommex, a manufacturer of the proprietary Sommex mattress brand. After acquiring the Spring Air license for Canada, he renamed the company Spring Air Sommex. Ricard sold his interest in 2001 to Spring Air Partners-North America, an investment group seeking to roll up Spring Air licensees into a single corporate entity.

Upon learning that Rev was for sale earlier this year, Ricard vied with several other suitors to purchase the company, said Valerie Stranix, Rev chief marketing officer.

Ricard hired Stranix 15 years ago, and she remains with Rev in her present role. She also assumes responsibility for new business development.

“Our plan is to grow the business, but in an intelligent manner—we’re not trying to be everything to everybody,” Stranix said. “Normand has always been very creative and inventive. He is known as someone who would bring ideas to market first. He has lots of great ideas. We also have a solid portfolio of brands to work with and have recently created an entire innovation and creative team.”

Ricard has been named chairman and Chris French, formerly the chief operating officer, was promoted to chief executive officer. Ricard’s daughter Anne Ricard continues as plant manager of the Trois Rivières facility in Québec, a post she has held for 15 years. Rev has two more manufacturing facilities, in Manitoba and Ontario. The company makes the Natura, NexGel, ObusForme and Sommex bed brands.

“If I were a rock star, you’d say I’m ‘making my big comeback’ to the bedding industry—and I couldn’t be more excited about it!” Ricard said. “So much has changed in the mattress industry, yet so much also remains the same. I’m looking forward to working with old friends and making new ones, while we make this company and its wonderful portfolio of brands into one of the industry’s great success stories.”

Rev’s parent company is the newly formed Sommex Bedding Corp.

According to French, Sommex Bedding Corp. will operate all Rev sales and service functions without change and will honor all existing warranties, co-op advertising and marketing commitments.

Ricard, a 30-year veteran of the mattress industry, was retired and living in France prior to the purchase. But he has been far from inactive. He is founder of the Scleroderma Society of Canada and continues to work toward increased research funding and awareness about the incurable disease, which afflicts a close family member.

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