So I walked into a mattress store today...

So I walked into a local mattress store today, and I saw a floor model, queen size, of the following:

Southerland

Refresh Re-Align Latex
Comfort Type: Firm Plush
Support Layer: 6" of Bio Foam, an environment friendly foam.
Comfort Layer: 3" of latex foam.
Covering: 4 way Stretch knit fabric quilted and airflow features.
Features: Latex foam for a cool sleeping surface. Oeko tex Certified for no harmful materials or chemicals.
Warranty: 15 years
Exclusive Features: Steel reinforced foundation, Air Tex Fabric, Bio foam base foam. Adjustable motion base friendly.
Coil Count: None. All luxury foam support.
Mattress Height: 9.5"

[u]https://www.mattressesunlimited.com/products/refresh-re-align[/u]

It was listed at $2299, but he had it on sale for $1699 because it was a floor model and it was the last one. After much more discussion about latex and my experience at Denver Mattress, laying on the Snowmass and Aspen, he brought his offer down to $1200 even.

Question - what the heck is Bio foam? This thing has a 6" Bio foam core… are are you buying? And is it ever a good idea to buy a floor model?

I honestly didn’t know that we get Southerland mattresses here in Louisville, so I may have to check them out. It looks like I can get any of those latex mattresses on the mattressesunlimited website here in Louisville, so let me know if you think any of them seem like a good deal.

PS: I loved the Snowmass over at Denver Mattress, great call on that one. I sank right into the Aspen, and I could feel my body bowing with my hips at the bottom. The Snowmass had a great feel. I think it’s about time to get the wife involved.

The last bit of legwork I need to do is go back to mattress & more and get them to cough up some specs on the Restonic Latex mattresses. One of them feels great - has 2 x 2" layers of latex on top, soft and medium, and then it has a strong core with a very interesting edge-support system. I need to figure out what that is system is all about - and then I’ll report back!

Hi jwevans01,

Southerland is a wholesale manufacturer sold through retail outlets and has been an ESOP (employee stock ownership program) for a couple of years. When I first came across them I thought that this would mean that their mattresses would have good value but with further research I began to see a pattern that they were usually being sold for more than I believed they were worth.

In the case of the refresh re-align latex … Bio foam is just another word for polyfoam. The reason it’s called “bio” is because some of the polyols (one of the two main chemicals used in polyfoam) which are made from petrochemicals have been replaced (usually less than 20%) with plant based polyols and then the many foam manufacturers who sell these polyfoams market them as being “green” materials. This is what is commonly called “greenwashing”.

So in essence this mattress is 3" of latex over polyfoam which means that their “discounted sale price” is still on the high side especially when you consider that a very similar Southerland mattress under a different name is selling here for $999 for the queen set (which is much more reasonable and good value). This type of construction is a popular choice for a “budget” latex mattress which has the benefits of latex in the comfort layer but uses a lower priced and lower quality foam in the support layers.

The Snowmass on the other hand has 8" of latex with an inch of polyfoam in the comfort layers (within the amount that I would consider acceptable in a latex mattress) and another 2" of polyfoam on the bottom as a stabilization layer (which I don’t consider to be an issue). This would be more of a “latex” mattress than a “latex/polyfoam” mattress and is much better value.

The Restonic all latex mattresses are in their Healthrest line which I didn’t see in mattress & more (although they could easily carry lines not listed on their site). They use several edge support systems on their innerspring lineup called comfort care (which mattress & more lists as a line they carry) and is either firmer polyfoam around the innerspring shown here (or what’s often called a “racetrack” or 360 degree surround which makes the edge of the mattress firmer for sitting) or their new system which you can see here which uses polyfoam inserts in the innerspring system. In a latex support core a polyfoam surround or edge support can be a negative because it uses much cheaper material to replace the higher quality and priced latex and the edge will break down sooner than the latex (which defeats the purpose of having a firmer edge).

Depending of course on the price and construction of the Restonic … the Snowmass is higher quality and better value IMO.

Phoenix

About the only thing I don’t like about these beds, or any bed I’ve ever slept in, is that I still feel too much pressure on my shoulders. (when laying on my side).

I mean, let’s be honest, I’m a guy with a 32 inch waist, 34-35 inch hips, but I have 39-40 inch shoulders. I basically lose circulation in my arms every night of my life. I wake a few times each night just because my arms will fall asleep.

Maybe I could buy the Snowmass and then put a zoned latex topper on it? Do those even exist?

I went ahead and designed a mattress for my wife and I on customsleepdesigns.com, and it pretty much stated this exact issue and how to resolve it.

Or maybe I could convince my wife to let me buy a Flobed? (cheaper) And customize the V-Zone a more firm layer under my hips, and a softer layer under my shoulders. (so it matches the CSD)

Isn’t there a cheaper way to resolve this issue than a $3k mattress?

Hi jwevans01,

How was the Snowmass on your shoulders? I’d also be curious to see how you felt (shoulderwise) about the Aspen.

With your lighter weights and the combination of point elasticity and support of latex, it’s quite possible that a 3" layer of 19 ILD would accommodate your shoulders and still allow you to be close enough to a firmer support layer to accommodate your hips and overall alignment as well. Latex is unusual in that it’s often possible to adapt to a much wider range of body shapes and weight distributions than other materials. FWIW … I have about an 8" differential between my hips and shoulder circumference and I do fine on an unzoned latex mattress. Part of the reason for this is that the surface area of the hips is larger than the shoulders (until they sink in to where the torso starts to take up weight) so even though the shoulders are lighter … the lower weight is more concentrated in a smaller area.

Failing that … you still have several options. There are not a lot of zoned latex toppers and it’s much more common to see zoning in the support core of a mattress. In most cases though … latex zoning in a core is only about a 4-6 ILD range which can help but it’s not very much. An example of a 7 zoned topper is here and Innomax also has a 5 zoned combination memory foam latex topper. It’s important though to find out exactly what the zones are because they’re not all the same in terms of where they put the softer and firmer areas. I personally prefer a 3 zone because more zones can get a little complex and may not always “fit” the areas they’re supposed to.

If you were to go with the vZone … then I would put a lot of thought into the zones I wanted and perhaps even custom order them. It won’t be possible to “duplicate” the custom sleep design because the vZone has a standard layer of soft convoluted latex on the top and then the zoning goes in a layer underneath this (usually the next layer down) but you could at least go in the same direction.

Another option to allow your shoulder to sink in more would be to use a tension adjustable base under your mattress with either a softer shoulder zone or a firmer zone under your hips ,… or both. Flobeds has one of these and Axelbloom has several models but there is also a very low cost version at Ikea but it’s very low profile.

So IMO, the answer to your question about something that may suit you that’s under $3000 … like so many other things connected to mattresses … is quite possibly, but it would take a bit of “hands on” research into the best direction to go for your unique body weight and shape and the combination of “ingredients” that would best do the job.

Phoenix

I did some leg work this weekend, making my way over to Bowles Mattress - and they told me that their price is $1088 for the entire HD Series. Details at the link below.

http://www.bowlesmattress.com/html/HD.htm

Looks like a pretty good value to me. But my question would be, what is the weak point of this mattress - what will go bad first, and when? With such a high coil gauge and latex on top, I’d be curious to know how long we could sleep on this mattress.

I still need to get over to Mattress and More to look at those Restonic latex mattresses again. When I get some info on the edge support system, I’ll let you guys know.

Also, here’s another latex mattress at a store just a few miles from my house - expenisve, typical for a Stearns and Foster - but I just thought I’d give you the details on their latest latex offerings.

Let me know what you think.

Hi jwevans,

The HD series uses one of the strongest coils in the industry and with edge supports, coil insulators (to keep the foam out of the innersprings and even out the innerspring support) and high quality latex foam in the comfort layers … these are built like a tank in terms of durability and really don’t really have a “weak link”. If one of these provided the pressure relief and alignment you needed then they would be good choices if you like the feel of a high quality innerspring vs a foam core.

I don’t know what size you’re quoting or whether its a mattress only or a set but I would give these serious consideration if the PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and support, and Preferences) is right for you.

I wouldn’t consider the Stearns & Foster which has 2.5" of soft lower density polyfoam in the quilt, another inch of slightly higher but unknown density polyfoam under that and uses mostly synthetic Dunlop latex (the lowest quality) in the comfort layer and the support core. These are exactly the type of mattresses where people believe they’re buying a high quality “latex” mattress but then discover they have all the “weaknesses” of polyfoam in the upper layers.

Phoenix

I agree with you on the Stearns and Foster mattress - terrible value for the money.

I plan to get over to Mattress and More later this afternoon to look at the Restonic Latex mattresses.

Glad to hear you like the HD Series from Bowles - I’ll have to run those by the wife. $1088 was for a queen size set.

Hi jwevans01,

Thanks for the price update :slight_smile:

That would represent very good value IMO.

Phoenix

OK so I went to Mattress and More to check out the Restonic Latex mattresses again. As I concluded previously, the mattress with the 6" latex core is too soft. However -

I absolutely loved the other model. It felt perfect for me, but unfortunately, I as I found out by way of reading the mattress tag and asking the salesman - the mattress is 40% polyeurothane foam. Ugh! It has 2" of softer latex on top, 2" of medium latex under that, and another layer of restofoam (poly) under that. Then, it has a high density poly-foam core, with a high density poly-foam siding, which provides excellent edge support. I believe the Restonic system was called Solid-Edge or something like that. Anyway, he didn’t want to budge on the price, so I probably couldn’t get it for under $1800.

I also stopped at Bowles to try out the HD series, and I was quite disappointed. It was much to springy for me - with that coil gauge, I was literally bouncing on the bed, like it was a trampoline. Awful. I did, however, enjoy the Lady Americana Gold Series, especially the Gold Box Top. They were a few hundred dollars more. Let me know what you think of these:

http://www.bowlesmattress.com/html/gold.htm

Also, what is a 2 1/2" Micro Coil box top insert?

Hi jwevans,

The second Restonic is not an uncommon construction for a lower cost latex mattress with latex on the top and then firmer polyfoam for a support core. They can be good value but of course they should be less than an all latex mattress … not the same price. The problem with a lot of the Restonics is that different licensees in different parts of the country make them differently and when you use soft polyfoam in the comfort layers (like the restofoam) then this can be an issue and become the “weak link” of the mattress. In most cases … the soft poly is over the latex rather than underneath it.

I have no idea what the edge support could be because I am only aware of an edge support system on their innerspring mattresses one of which is called superedge plus which is just high density firm polyfoam around the innerspring (described on their website). Of course it would also be possible to add firmer polyfoam around the edge of a polyfoam core as well. Do you know the model name?

I’m not surprised that you found the HD series too bouncy. They are built to accommodate heavier people who need much firmer support although anyone of course may like them and they are very good quality.

A microcoil is like a mini pocket coil used in the comfort layers of a mattress. An example is the Leggett & platt version here although they are also made buy several other manufacturers. They can be very comfortable and pressure relieving.

The Lady Americana both use them in combination with either a pocket coil or an offset coil (the firmer version). They have 1.5" of soft poly on top which is quilted and would IMO be “just acceptable” in terms of polyfoam in a comfort layer. Of course the higher density this was the better it would be. I would certainly consider either of these if they met your needs and preferences and my choice (personal preference) being a side sleeper would also be the Gold box Top. They may work well for your shoulders. The extra few hundred would be reasonable to me given the more expensive “ingredients”.

Restonic also has a version (in some areas) which you can see here and Berkeley Ergonomics also makes one using swedish microcoils (and quite a few other manufacturers have their own versions as well). The microcoils are more durable than lower density polyfoam but are also very conforming.

Phoenix

Unfortunately, the price of the Gold Series Box-Top is $1688, which probably isn’t as good a value as I thought. How many years do you think we could get out of it?

Do you think it’s a good value?

Other than the Snowmass over at Furniture Row, I can’t seem to find a good value in the Louisville area in an all-foam mattress or an innerspring mattress w/ latex. I just wanted to give my wife a few options instead of just saying, “After several weeks of research, here’s the one mattress that I came up with!”

Also, there is a small store here in Louisville called Bandy Bedding that I haven’t checked out yet. Have you heard of them?

Hi jwevans01,

I would definitely put this is the “good value” range for a set yes. It’s certainly much better than anything you would find in a mass market outlet for anything of equivalent quality (3" of latex, a micro coil, a pocket coil, lumbar zoning, a channel quilt for the quilting, bamboo ticking, a “real” box top, and a premium foundation). Of course your personal experience on this mattress is important but if it “fits” then I would consider this to be a durable mattress (the microcoils are a very durable component and the only thing that in any way could be called a “weak link” would be the 1.5" of polyfoam quilting which is not thick enough to cause any kind or worry in a quilted layer and would add to the “hand feel” of the mattress. While I hesitate to ever “attach” a specific number of years to any mattress/person combination because there are so many variables (because the person has as much to do with how long a mattress will last as the mattress itself) … this IMO would be a “decade plus” mattress and probably longer. The microcoils have not been out long enough to know for sure but indications and testiing indicate it is as durable as latex which would put it in the “15 year” or longer range (with a wide range on either side based on the person using it).

I would choose this over the refresh re-align floor model discount price for example (based on the components not taking into account which may “fit” better for any person) and compared to their $1699 “regular” refresh re-align price there would be absolutely no doubt which I would choose.

I’m glad you asked this because there’s a bit of a story behind why I didn’t list them. they have been a King Koil licensee but in the last few months their website expired and disappeared. Like so many in the industry … this is usually an indication that they have been either a victim of the recession or the 1633 fire regulations which placed a very oberous burden on smaller manufacturers (which I believe was part of the reason for it’s implementation). when you mentioned them I took the time to call to make sure they were gone and it turns out that they are still in business and they have also severed their relationship as a King Koil licensee so they could have more control over their own mattresses. I was given the number of the owner (John Bandy) so I could ask more about the mattresses they were making but haven’t had the chance to connect with him (left a message). So they certainly fit the profile of the kind of manufacturers I like and have been making mattresses for over 30 years, but their current temporary website http://www.wisebuyingmall.com/bandybedding has no information about their mattresses (they are working on a decent website).

So I would definitely pay a visit there yes and I’d love to know what you find there in case I don’t connect before you do. I apologize for missing them in my original list and I’m happy they seem to be another good local choice.

Phoenix

It looks to me like “Lady Americana” isn’t a Bowles mattress, but rather a nation-wide produced mattress. While the sticker does say $1688, do you think I could get them to come down on the price, since it’s not really a factory direct mattress?

Also, check out this article on the Lady Americana line… does the Gold Series really have a lifetime warranty!?

http://www.mattress-wiz.com/lady-americana-mattress-review.html

It looks like even the Silver Series has a 25 year warranty! Are there any in that series that you would recommend? All of the mattresses in this series have the ‘Cool Max Fabric quilted to 1 1/2" Foam’. It also looks like most of them have either 3" SuperSoft Poly Foam or an HD convoluted foam insert. I can’t imagine these mattresses holding up anywhere near as long as the Gold Series.

Interesting. Let me know what you think.

Hi jwevans01,

Lady Americana is a licensed brand which means the name is licensed and certain models (on their website) have a specific construction that is specified but the mattress is made locally. Spring Air is similar in that they license a manufacturer to use the name but the models can vary. In some cases … licensee groups have some latitude in what they use in the mattress (such as Restonic) so there isn’t a “standardized” group of models but only standard lines with different models that use different materials.

For example … Taylor bedding also makes Lady Americana but in their case they sell them to a store which in turn sells them to the consumer. You can see they make all the standard models on the Lady Americana site but also some additional models … all branded with Lady Americana.

As far as bargaining … local manufacturers as a group run on a much lower profit margin and tend to sell at their best price every day. Their whole sales model is different asnd they rely on education more than the “urgent enticement” of the fake sales that are so common in the industry as a whole. They have sales much more rarely, for more legitimate reasons, and with much smaller discounts. Because of this … they tend not to bargain nearly as much and many won’t bargain at all because they already sell at the best price they are able to. There is some variance here so it never hurts to ask but it’s not “standard procedure” like it is in a more typical mattress store where the “norm” is to buy a mattress at 50% or less of the suggested price.

While the Lady americana site does say that the Gold has a lifetime warranty … the warranty page also says that the Lady Americana warranty is set by the factory that makes them. warranty page It also makes clear what the warranty covers and doesn’t including the fact that a warranty does not cover a mattress that wears out meaning a warranty has no relationship to how long a mattress will last. From the Lady Americana website (partial) …

[b]DEFINITIONS

"Warranty": the manufacturer’s assurance that certain standards will be met by the performance of the mattress and box spring for a specified period of time.
"Limited Warranty": this indicates that the warranty provided does not extend to every possible situation. There are situations that are excluded; therefore the warranty is "limited" rather than "unlimited". No mattress manufacturer offers an "unlimited" warranty, because there are so many situations outside of its control.
"Non-ProRated": if any problem occurs that is covered by the warranty during the term of the warranty, purchaser will not be charged for any repair made or, if necessary, any exchange of the mattress and/or box spring.

WHO IS THE WARRANTOR?

The warrantor is the Lady Americana factory that manufactured the mattress and/or box spring. Lady Americana Associates, Inc. (LAA), licenses independent mattress manufacturers to produce and market Lady Americana products. LAA does not determine any specific warranty for any Lady Americana product. In the event the factory that manufactured your warranted product ceases operations, this warranty ceases to exist. Only the factory determines which products will be warranted, and for what period.[/b]

The types of issues that warranties are meant to cover usually happen in the first few years of ownership. Lifetime warranties … and warranties in general … are more of a sales tool than they are consumer protection. They are part of what helps consumers loosen their wallet for mattresses that contain more foam or that “look” nicer. They cover manufacturing defects only and this does not include foam softening or impressions less than the warranty exclusions so if a mattress softens to a point that it is no longer suitable for sleeping but the foam weakly comes back to less than the warranty exclusion with no weight on the mattress (which it usually will) … it is not a claimable warranty issue. In addition to this there are other exclusions that would make a lifetime warranty (or most warranties in general) almost never “actionable” for the reasons that most consumers think they are covered.

Phoenix

I went back to the Bowles store again yesterday, and I spent some time laying on the silver series mattresses as well. Most of these costed significantly less than the Gold Series I was looking at the other day. The silver series were in the range of $1100-$1200 I believe. Are there any in this series that you would recommend? I would think the silver series would last us maybe 12-15 years?

I know the Majesty and the Heiress each have a 3" Super Soft high-density foam pad, but it lays under the VLS (Visco Lumbar Support). What about the Imperial? It has a high density convoluted foam insert that is under the Visco Lumbar Support as well.

At these prices, I feel like I could go buy a Simmons and get the exact same pocketed coils and the same amount of poly foam.

Also, important to note that the “zoned” pocketed coils do seem to feel better on my shoulders than a firmer latex mattress like the Snowmass over at Denver. Do you think the microcoils in the box top are as good at pressure relieving as latex?

Hi jwevans,

I would choose the silver series if it was an “apples to apples” comparison to a major brand but regardless of where it was made I personally would avoid 1.5 lb density polyfoam in a 3" layer unless it was in a lower priced mattress. I tend to be a little conservative in any durability comments because there are more variables than can possibly be predicted but I don’t believe the effective life would be in the 12-15 year range for most people (although that doesn’t mean that some people wouldn’t use it for that long) but closer to half that range.

Bowles uses 1.5 lb polyfoam in their super soft and their mattresses that contain polyfoam use this or a higher density 1.8 lb polyfoam (in their convoluted for example). Most major brands like Simmons would use a combination of 1.2 and 1.5 lb foam (and sometimes even less). Construction methods are also typically better at smaller manufacturers as well which can also add to durability. Polyfoam of this density is nowhere near the durability of latex though and is also a much less expensive material (meaning a less expensive mattress).

Unless someone is in a lower budget range … I would avoid lower density polyfoam in layers this thick as a general rule (bearing in mind that the density of polyfoam is a major part of durability but where it is in the mattress and what is over and under it and construction methods also play a role). Minimal use of foams of this density is a much better approach IMO even though the value of the Silver series would be better vs a mainstream mattress. I personally wouldn’t be looking at any of the silver series.

the Imperial has the 1.8 lb convoluted and would have a different feel (convoluted is softer in the convoluted part but firmer in the non convoluted part so it would get firmer faster but would also have less material so would be less durable than a non convoluted equivalent foam). This would mean a different feel with similar durability IMO.

This doesn’t surprise me with your build as we talked about earlier. I haven’t seen any objective comparisons between the pocket coils and materials like latex or memory foam but in theory, I think the microcoils would have similar pressure relieving abilities (it wouldn’t be quite as “point elastic” as softer latex or memory foam) and better than polyfoam. They would also be more durable than lower density polyfoam. In actual practice … the only way to know for certain would be the experience of the person lying on the mattress because the thickness and construction of the microcoil and the layers over and under it would have a major effect on the pressure relieving properties of the mattress. Like with all layering … the thickness and quality and relative softness/firmness of the layering has as much to do with pressure relief (and support) as the actual material itself. Enough pressure relief is also relative though because once you are below the personal threshold of what you need and prefer … then more than this becomes somewhat of a moot point. In other words … if a 3" comfort layer of a particular material provides good pressure relief … then using 5" of the same materials would tend to compromise support. Microcoils in some variation would certainly provide “enough” pressure relief for most people and I personally also like the feel of them in combination with a layer of latex over them although that is a matter of personal preference that others may not share.

Just as a reference … this mattress at Denver uses 1.8 lb polyfoam (like most of their mattresses) and has a zoned innerspring (not pocket coil).

This one includes 1.8 lb polyfoam with 2" of latex over pocket coils (although I don’t believe they’re zoned)

Phoenix

PS: I have left 2 messages for John Bandy but haven’t had a chance to talk with him yet. In a general conversation with their store … they told me that they carry innersprin/polyfoam mattresses, memory foam mattresses (using 5 lb foam) and some type of latex mattress … but she said I would need to talk with John to find out the layering details and whether the latex was just a “thinner layer in the mix” and the details of any polyfoam above or below.

It may be worth testing their mattresses to see if any provide the pressure relief and support you like and then wait till either of us has had a chance to find out if the materials seem to be good value.

I stopped in at Bandy Bedding on my way home from work yesterday, and I spoke with the very nice gentleman who was working at the store. He told me up-front that their business caters to people on a budget. Most of their models fall between $250-$800. They had only one pocketed-coil mattress in the store, and it had been discontinued. They sell 99% basic innerspring mattresses, with no bells and whistles. They sell a couple of Memory Foam knock-offs, and they had two mattresses with latex. One was an innerspring mattress with a little bit of latex on top - it was quite bouncy. The other was an innerspring mattress that had a layer of memory foam under a layer of latex - best mattress in the store - $899 I believe was the price.

They also offered a more luxurious-looking line of mattresses that had a “fleece” type cover on top. Very interesting - but I can’t help but think that it would sleep warm. (again, innerspring only)

We couldn’t get any information on the layers or quantity/quality of polyfoam being used in combination. I even checked around for mattress tags, and I couldn’t find a single mattress tag on any of the mattresses. (weird)

Anyway - very nice salesman, but the store didn’t have anything to offer in the way of high-end mattresses. And with absolutely no way of knowing what materials are being used, it’s hard to estimate the overall value of their products.

Lastly, I’ve been trying to find some more information on the durability of microspring box tops. I went online to try to find some reviews or comparisons, and I’m not having much luck. It did find one mattress with a microcoil, though:

Gallery Grand Residence Micro Coil Pillowtop Therapedic Mattress:

Queen size with boxspring, $1328 - but I don’t think it has pocketed coils or any latex in the layers.

Are there any others we can compare with the Lady Americana Gold Box Top? Any reviews anywhere?

Hi jwevans,

There are a few microcoil mattresses that have some reviews that I know of. Parklane mattress (one of the members of the site) has several here and here and here that include some reviews on the site.

Berkeley Ergonomics also has a couple which use Swedish microcoils … the Nordic and the Nordic 11 that have some yelp reviews as well (although they are more about the outlet).

You’re also right that the Therapedic Grand Residence doesn’t have latex in the mix. Lebeda makes one here but I don’t know the price and Restonic in Everton makes one here as well but I also don’t know the price of this one in a retail outlet.

Some other examples of manufacturers that use microcoils, innersprings, and latex includes Beloit Mattress (also one of the member here) and Select Sleep.

Results of some of the testing that Leggett and Platt has done on the microcoils compared to other materials is here.

Of course there’s lots more but this should give you an idea of their relative benefits (breathability, durability, and cost compared to many other top layer materials).

Phoenix

Hi again jwevans,

thanks for your review on Bandy in Louisville. It’s rare to see a review that is so concise and accurate and I certainly appreciate it.

I had a chance today to talk with the owner John (Mary’s son) at Bandy and there is a fair bit more I can now add as well.

They parted ways with King Koil mainly because they wanted to move towards a more factory direct model where they could have more control over the design and range of mattresses they made even though this would involve becoming smaller and less “mass produced”. John didn’t believe that they were doing as well as they could and this was a pathway to becoming better.

We also talked a lot about their mattresses and how they build them and I was quite impressed here as well. They make everything from the very lowest end (which of course uses lower quality polyfoam) all the way up to an all latex (talalay) mattress and everything in between. Except for the “bargain basement” models at the very lowest price … they don’t use anything less than 1.6 lb polyfoam in their mattresses and higher. They also make a wide range of memory foam options using mid and high density memory foam (he completely agrees about the use of 3.5 lb memory foam and the durability issues it can have).

Their Louisville store is not the “norm” for them. There is 4 months left on the lease there and it was an outlet store that was meant to carry their lower priced models because of the market conditions in Louisville and the area of the store. Their other outlets carry their full range of their mattresses. They are hoping to move the Louisville premises to a new and more “upscale” location and then carry the full range of mattresses there.

We talked for well over an hour and I have to say I was truly impressed with his focus on using the best quality materials he possibly could in every budget range and even in the context of independent manufacturers … he was amazingly open about what they do, where they want to improve, and where they plan to go (almost all factory direct in the next year or so). Not surprisingly … he was also very knowledgeable about different foams and their strengths and weaknesses. Interestingly enough … one of his biggest concerns with latex besides the price and the knowledge needed to make and sell it was the working conditions of the people who gather the latex in some areas of the world. I found this quite insightful as to his character and ethics. We were very much in alignment in our thoughts and opinions about mattresses and the industry in general.

Overall … I’m very happy that this thread gave me the chance to talk with him. He certainly fits the profile IMO of the better factory direct manufacturers and I believe that their quality and value would make them well worth including in any mattress research if they are within reasonable driving distance … especially in their “complete lineup” outlets which carry their full range of mattresses.

Phoenix