Best Mattress opened in West Columbia just a year before the country entered the Great Depression. Nearly 85 years later as the country emerges from the Great Recession Bests owners are opening their second location today.
The new store at 2930 Devine St,. in Columbia marks a new chapter for owner Buddy Delaney, whose grandmother and father started the company in 1928 in a then-dirt-floor building at West Columbias 713 Meeting St., where Delaney still makes and sells mattresses today.
I think my father would have been proud, Delaney said, adding his father also might have scolded him for taking too big a risk with the new store.
Like many others, Delaneys business has suffered in the past few years as homeowners, struggling to make their mortgage payments, put home-furnishing purchases on hold. Delaney estimates he has lost about 20 percent of his business since the height of the building boom in 2007.
But, as the economy has started to show signs of a rebound in recent months, Delaney said he has gained back about half of those losses. Theres absolutely no question that its starting to turn around.
Delaney said he has looked at various locations from Northeast Richland to Forest Acres to Devine Street in response to customers who for years have wanted a store closer to where they live.
He said he found the right fit in the building that started as an A&P grocery store in the 1940s and, most recently, housed Half-Moon Outfitters before that business moved down the street a year ago.
The 6,200-square-foot store gives Delaney room to display the mattresses that his company makes, as well as the only outside line that it sells, Tempur-Pedic. Delaney also plans to have a display showing the all-American-made parts that go into his companys mattresses. And he is using the space to unveil his new crescent moon logo and slogan Sleep. Custom made just for you.
Delaney liked the location because it is nestled among an eclectic mix of small, local businesses, including Kicks, VanJean and Bohemian Home.
Delaney, who owns the family business with his sister Linda Martin, has hired two employees for the new store. Donna Freeman will manage it.
Now is the time to open, Delaney said, because people are feeling better about the economy and those who have been putting off purchases are ready to start buying again. He said folks generally need a new mattress about once every 10 years.
Bests prices range from $275 for a full queen set up to $5,000. The average purchase ranges from $799 to $1,199, Delaney said.
While Best Mattress does sell some of its best sellers off the showroom floor, Delaney said he likes to custom-fit customers for their mattresses, like a tailor would fit someone for a suit.
Its not just about whats on sale that week, he said. For your master bedroom, you spend a third of your life on this product. It really is important.