Mattress industry making a difference

Jane KitchenIt’s the holiday season, and so the theme of giving back is high on everyone’s list, but still: I am awestruck at the generosity this industry displays.

Every month scores of articles line the pages of this magazine on companies donating goods, services or money to both local and national charities, on scales both grand and small.

This month’s news section features many stories on bedding industry players, both manufacturers and retailers, giving back to the community.  Gotcha Covered is donating top-of-bed items to families who lost everything in the Oklahoma City tornadoes this year, with the hope that something as simple as brand-new sheets can help a family start to feel at home again.  Sit ‘n Sleep and Tempur-Pedic have teamed up to donate beds to area firehouses in California as a way to say ‘thank you’ to their local firefighters during Fire Prevention Week. Mattress Firm has sponsored the Global Cardboard Challenge to encourage creativity in today’s youth. Malouf men grew mustaches last month to raise awareness of men’s health issues. And the Sleep Train golf classic raised $650,000 to help foster children.

That’s just in one month. This month, ISPA President Ryan Trainer and I travel to Phoenix for the Magowitz golf classic, an industry event that raises funds for pancreatic cancer research. The fourth-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., pancreatic cancer takes the lives of more than 38,000 Americans annually. A staggering 75 % of those diagnosed die within the first year, and only 6 % survive more than five years. And yet our industry comes together each year to try and put a dent in those numbers. The list of bedding industry sponsors is more than impressive, and I love the idea of an industry gathering to make a difference.

Then there is the heart-warming success story of Spring Back, the recycling program that does double-duty of both keeping mattresses out of landfills and employing formerly incarcerated men in an effort to help them lead productive lives. Retailer Innovative Mattress Solutions has partnered with the organization, and has recycled more than 1 million pounds of used mattresses this year. The program seems to be a win-win situation for everyone: Millions of pounds of raw materials are recycled, men looking for a second chance gain work experience and life skills, and retailers have a meaningful story to share with their customers.

These are my favorite stories—the win-win ones. But really every story that involves giving something back is a win-win one. Whether it means branding in the local community for your company, or networking with others in the industry, or creating events that drive traffic into stores, when we’re doing something that helps other at the same time, it’s a win for everyone, and it makes a difference. And that’s something this industry can be very proud of.

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