Don L. Day
BOISE — If you’ve driven down any major thoroughfare you’ve probably seen them: large buildings with high windows and big glowing signs. Inside, dozens of places to rest your head.
Mattress stores are popping up all over the valley — and one chain has taken the idea to new heights. In three years of following #BoiseDev, it’s the question I get most often:
Mattress Firm had a toehold in the Boise market with a smattering of stores when it acquired Sleep Country USA in 2015.
Now, the sleeping giant has a unique concentration of stores which are often in close proximity, leading many to wonder: why so many?
Consider this — at State St. and Glenwood, Mattress Firm has a pair of locations that are just 300 feet apart from door-to-door.
But if dodging cars across seven lanes of Glenwood is overwhelming — head out to Eagle Rd. & Lanark, where two Mattress Firm locations are less than 200 feet apart — and sit literally right next door to each other.
In all, Mattress Firm has 11 locations in Ada and Canyon Counties (plus a “Got Sleep” outlet in Boise Towne Square, one of five shops in the mall area). No single store is more than one mile from a sister outlet.
So what’s going on? I checked in with a Mattress Firm spokesperson to better understand the decisions that seem a little bewildering to an outsider.
“Across the country, we have clusters of successful stores that do very well within close proximity,” Mattress Firm public relations manager G’Nai Blackmore told me by email.
The answer, it seems, boils down to simple ease of access:
“Convenience is king and the ability to experience a mattress is important in finding the right one,” Blackmore said. “We invest in real estate in highly-trafficked intersections and shopping centers in our key markets to maintain visibility.”
Makes sense, right? But why so many stores so close together?
“We use a proprietary system that defines zones by things such as population and drive time to decide when and where to add additional stores in various markets,” Blackmore said. “This sometimes results in having Mattress Firm locations in close proximity, as seen in Boise.”
Many current Mattress Firm stores were formerly Sleep Country (including half of the “next door neighbor” situation on Eagle Rd. Will all the stores stay open? Maybe not.
“As a natural course of business, we close under-performing stores and will continue to do so as needed as a part of our plan for operational excellence.”
Blackmore did say that Boise could see more stores, and called the area a “key market.” She noted that having the right mix of stores means the company sees “increased traffic, higher customer conversion, and increased profits among other benefits.”
Mattress Firm’s rising tide doesn’t just lift its (many) boats.
Mattress Firm uses the line “replace every eight” in its advertising — and one local mattress retailer told me off-the-record that MF’s heavy advertising push and concept of replacing your sleeping surface so often has actually increased demand and lifted their business, despite the heavy new competition. (For what it’s worth, Consumer Reports says the jury is still out on how long you should wait in between mattress purchases).