COLUMBIA, SC — Buddy Delaney almost missed his 15 minutes of fame.
When an MSNBC producer called him late last year to ask him to participate in a Your Business segment, Delaney didnt call back. He figured it was one of the Internet shows that calls a couple of times a year, asking to feature for a tidy sum his 85-year-old West Columbia business, Best Mattress.
But the producer persisted and Delaney eventually realized it was a legitimate news program, airing at 7:30 a.m. every Sunday. The show features a range of business issues affecting entrepreneurs. In Delaneys case, the show was interested in showing the story of a business owner who chose to expand, instead of downsize, during the recent down economy.
When the segment airs this Sunday at 7:30 a.m. on MSNBC, Channel 36 on Time Warner Cable it actually will give Delaney closer to five minutes of fame, not the 15 promised by artist Andy Warhol. The show will feature several other segments dealing with a variety of issues, such as managing growth and finding financing.
Delaneys story is unique because he didnt back down even when economic conditions forced many in the home furnishings arena out of business.
Delaneys grandmother and father ran Best Mattress for decades making custom mattresses in a factory in West Columbia and selling them out of the front of the building.
It was a system that worked as the business built a loyal following and made it through the economys ups and downs.
But few businesses were prepared for what the Great Recession brought, and Delaney saw sales slip as much as 20 percent in recent years. Workers who once put in 40 hours a week were needed for only 32, and Bests factory was running below its capacity.
So Delaney decided to do something counterintuitive something he knew his conservative father probably would have advised against.
He decided to expand. Last year, he opened an additional showroom on Devine Street, closer to where many customers had told him, over the years, they would like to see his business.
Delaney got a deal on a building lease that allowed him to get out of it if things werent going well after the first year. That way, he would be able to limit his risk. Also, instead of adding new machines and employees to add mattresses for the new store, Delaney was able to ramp production up at his existing factory, bringing his employees back to a full work week.
This was key, Delaney said. If I had had to add machines, employees and lease a building, I dont think I would have done it. Thats probably true for a lot of businesses.
Delaney is glad he took the chance. His reception in the new spot along with sales has been good.
Quaker Steak & Lube opens next week
The Midlands will get its first Quaker Steak & Lube next week. The casual dining chain will open at 3 p.m. Wednesday at 941 Spears Creek Court in Northeast Richland, according to a release.
The Sharon, Pa.,-based restaurant chain features a variety of menu items, from wings, ribs and chicken to soups, salads and sandwiches. This will be its second location in South Carolina; the other one is in Greenville.
The sports-themed restaurant will seat up to 365 customers and have a brickyard patio and two bars, the release said. Sports events will be shown on TVs throughout the eatery. Décor will include sports and automotive memorabilia, including a Dale Earnhardt wall featuring a brake rotor from his car.