The Original Mattress Factory Named "2010 Retail Giant of Bedding" by Furniture Today

May 4, 2010

Original Mattress Factory's Products Do The Talking

There have been many nice testimonials to the good work done by The Original Mattress Factory. The factory-direct operator has created legions of satisfied customers over the years, and that's how Ron Trzcinski and his team have built the business into the retail powerhouse that it is today.

One of the most impressive testimonials to the success of this company came last fall, when the prestigious consumer evaluation publication "Consumer Reports" released its closely studied list of ratings of the top mattress brands and the top mattress retailers.

It was nearly a clean sweep for The Original Mattress Factory, which finished second on the list of mattress brands, based on readers' overall satisfaction, and ranked first on the retail list, again based on overall satisfaction.

With that showing, the low-key company here, which generally avoids the spotlight and lets its products and stores do the talking, bested most of the biggest names in the bedding industry. It was a stellar performance, one that put The Original Mattress Factory in elite company.

The seeds of that success were planted almost 40 years ago. Young Ron Trzcinski had just gotten his MBA degree from the University of Virginia and was surveying the job scene in the early 1970s. He sorted through the offers and decided to join an agressive Sealy licensee, Ohio-Sealy Mattress Co., headed by legendary mattress tycoon Ernest Wuliger.

Good move, Ron.

As Ohio-Sealy expanded its business under Wuliger's shrewd stewardship, eventually gaining control of the Sealy brand, Trzcinski gained invaluable experience in the mattress industry. He rose through the ranks and eventually become the No. 2 man at the world's largest bedding company, learning the insides and outsides of the industry at Wuliger's elbow.

But when Wuliger sold the company in a leveraged buyout, Trzcinski came face to face with "new attitudes and business philosophies." He exited the Sealy door and opened the doors to The Original Mattress Factory.

Now, almost 20 years later, that company ranks among the nation's largest factory-direct operators. That channel of distribution has lost share over the years, but Trzcinski and his team have bucked that trend with their operation, which now has stores in nine states in the Midwest and along the East Coast.

They have done that the old-fashioned way, building one quality mattress after another. They company's mission statement sums up its philosophy in simple terms: "Produce quality mattresses in our factory and sell them directly to consumers, eliminating the middleman and providing real value."

Those are words and catch phrases tossed around with casual abandon in the mattress industry, but they have real meaning at The Original Mattress Factory. "We are trying to make the best bed we can," Trzcinski said in a Furniture/Today interview a few years ago in one of his infrequent appearances in the trade media. "That is what drives us. We are not looking to cut costs. We ask, 'How can we make the bed better.'"

Trzcinski learned the mattress industry from the ground up, and those lessons he learned decades ago have been enduring ones. The company is still committed to two-sided beds, uses heavy substantial innerspring units to anchor them, and selects traditional materials llike cotton and polyurethane foam to cushion them.

"We want to sell a product that will stay sold," Trzcinski explained. "From the day we opened, we have avoided selling a ton of pillowtop beds at $399. Would those be a value to the consumer? We want to be an example of how a company should be run. We have tried to avoid the sizzle part of the business and instead sell the steak."

That's only one of the refreshing qualities that The Original Mattress Factory brings to the mattress industry. Another is a positive focus on the customer. "Be courteous to our customers and educate them about the product they are buying" is a key message in the company's mission statement, and if that sound obvious, it's not. Many customers leave mattress stores frustrated and confused - not educated.

The company also strives for "win-win solutions" in dealings with customers, fellow employees and suppliers. If you are in the business for the long-term, which The Original Mattress Factory has proven that it is, those positive dealings pay off. Just check that mattress ratings issue of Consumer Reports if you need a reminder of that fact.

By David Perry
May 4, 2010 Issue