PureSleep store manager Stephen Graham enters data about a customer into a program that helps that customer find the right mattress. Mr. Graham says the store is not just about mattresses but about getting a good night’s sleep. Art Van is set to open its area superstore by summer’s end.
THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
A year ago when Michigan’s Art Van Furniture Inc. announced its expansion outside the state of Michigan would begin in Toledo, the furniture retailer also announced that it would augment its planned superstore by opening three standalone PureSleep stores in the area.
With the 90,000-square-foot superstore on schedule to open at summer’s end, the Art Van’s chain secured its first foothold in Toledo today with the grand opening of a PureSleep store at 4600 Talmadge Rd., near Westfield Franklin Park.
The store, which had its soft opening on May 25, plans a ribbon-cutting today featuring executives of the company based in Warren, Mich., and local government officials. Once the bigger furniture store opens in Springfield Township, Art Van hopes to coordinate marketing efforts with the superstore and its satellite PureSleep stores. The sites of the other two PureSleep stores have not been announced.
Until then, PureSleep store officials are hoping they get the chance to show local customers that, true to its name, a PureSleep store doesn’t just sell beds or mattresses, but rather a good night’s sleep.
“We take a more health-and-welfare approach to mattresses in order to find out what’s going to support you best,” said Stephen Graham, manager of the new store on Talmadge.
To that end, PureSleep stores feature a computer-linked diagnostic bed, co-developed by the Kingsdown Inc. mattress company and Duke University, that tries to direct customers to the most comfortable bed and pillow for them.
The system asks a customer several basic questions, such as height, weight, sleeping preferences, etc., then asks about areas where they feel pain or discomfort while on a bed. The computer then adjusts a special bed, according to the data, to fit the customer’s needs. The customer then tries out the bed, and further adjustments can be made from there.
Mr. Graham said the system can’t predict the exact bed for a customer, but “it eliminates all of the guesswork” and gives customers the feedback they need to select the correct mattress for them. The diagnostic system can compensate for two people in the same bed with different sleeping requirements and even can recommend a pillow.
“It’s not just about mattresses. It’s about getting a good night’s sleep,” Mr. Graham said.
PureSleep stores sell nine mattress brands, pillows, encasement systems for mattresses and pillows, and bed linen.
The new superstore, which is being built on the site of the former cinemas in the Spring Meadows Shopping Center, plans to have a PureSleep store inside it.
Mr. Graham said that since his store opened, it has done well and even is drawing some customers from Michigan who were familiar with Art Van. “This is the first Art Van store outside the state of Michigan, but for some people in Monroe County, Toledo is closer than going to a store in Michigan,” he said.
Mr. Graham also believes the furniture store will be a big success.
In addition to Art Van officials and Toledo-area customers, a few others will be very interested in the PureSleep store and the future store in Springfield Township.
Phil Frost, merchandise manager for Toledo-based Banner Mattress and Furniture, said the company has been watching Art Van to see what kind of competition it may pose.
“Frankly, the market has been getting crowded long, long before they ever showed up. If anything, it’ll just mean more advertising than anything, but the market already was crowded,” Mr. Frost said.
Mr. Frost said PureSleep stores carry a lot of high-end products, and customers who don’t shop the high-end priced goods may not visit a PureSleep store. “So for us, it may not make any difference. We have $199 queen mattresses up to $4,000 king sets,” he said.
“People may go there to look in the beginning, but in the long run for us, we have much more product. So I don’t think it will make that much difference to us,” Mr. Frost said.
At the Appliance Center Home Store in Maumee, co-owner Julie Abbey said store officials there also have had their eyes on the arrival of Art Van.
“They’re competition, and we welcome all competition,” Ms. Abbey said. “But the fact remains that they are an out-of-town store. They’re a Michigan-based company, and we think that Toledoans like to keep their business dollars local. We spend a lot of time supporting the community.”
Ms. Abbey said competing against locally based retailers may end up being a harder task than Art Van is used to. “But still, we welcome their competition,” she added.
Contact Jon Chavez at: email@example.com or 419-724-6128.