Retailers - specialty sleep shops
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If your definition of value includes good prices, better quality, knowledge of mattresses and everything connected with them, a variety of choices, local field testing, and great service, then these are often the source of the best value for your circumstances.
They tend to fall into one of two groups. Either smaller outlets that hope to become much larger and emulate a national chain store using all the same methods of their larger counterparts, or those where growth is a side effect of their value and service. It is the latter group that has always been a part of a "mattress underground" in their desire to resist the trends of the industry and this is the group that The Mattress Underground is committed to connecting with consumers.
Many of these outlets carry larger national brands since the common beliefs connected with heavy advertising have sometimes made it a necessary fact of life to bring consumers into a store, or they could easily go out of business. They tend to focus on "off brands" however that have much greater value and quality than their better known "competitors" and once a consumer learns the truth about where real value lives, they will rarely consider the larger more well known brands. They also have much greater levels of knowledge about what makes a good mattress and are more willing to share meaningful information and facts with their prospective customers. These are the stores where education and knowledge is their friend as the more a consumer knows about mattresses and the materials in it the more likely they will purchase from one of these outlets. They do not need special sales as their mattresses are already priced at levels that have excellent value and smaller discounts with legitimate reasons are more the norm when they do have them. While consumers may walk into their store looking for something else, they will often walk out with a completely different perspective and end up purchasing a mattress that is much better suited to their needs and with the greater quality and materials used, will last them much longer as well.
These outlets will also often have more in depth and specialized knowledge of other areas that are connected to both mattresses and sleeping and can be a high quality source of good information about more specialized materials, ticking, quilting, and bases along with other bedding connected products such as sheets, blankets, or pillows that are often purchased along with a new mattress.
The common thread behind these outlets is the ownership and staff. They are usually privately run companies that hire staff that either knows their stuff or they will train them until they do. Their training is more about what makes a better mattress than it is about how to more effectively use deceptive sales practices to "close the sale" before a customer walks out of the store. They may sometimes carry a smaller variety of mattresses however what they do carry represent genuine choices and are not a dozen different versions of the same type of mattress wearing different sets of clothes. They have the knowledge to fit you to a mattress rather than simply focusing on short term comfort and feelings in the store.
You will often find owners in this part of the industry that have been around the mattress industry for many years in either retail sales or in manufacturing and and many of them are former employees or even executives of larger companies that came to realize the direction of their industry and have a genuine desire and commitment to change it. While all of these of course still need to make a living, they are more motivated by the service and the value they provide than they are "money machines" and they realize that their profits are a side effect how they treat their customers. With many larger outlets, profits based on "stories" are the primary motivation of the business. While these smaller sleep shops are of course also in business to make a profit they do not need to create the sense of urgency through deceptive sales or other practices to do it.
The best of these are a great choice for a mattress purchase.