Follow-Up File: Mattress store discovers comfort zone

Name: Jimi Breazeale

Job: Co-owner

Business: Get-A-Mattress

What he said then:

In September 2009, The Tribune spotlighted the newest business venture of Jimi Breazeale and Hector Amaya in Arroyo Grande.

Previously the owners of Grand Estate Home Furnishings, they opened Get-A-Mattress in June of last year.

“We’d been thinking about it for many years,” Breazeale said. “We finally felt there was such a great need for a mattress store that was large and offers everything to do with sleep.”

They started with more than 100 mattresses in the showroom, plus bed frames, crib mattresses, even pet beds. About 30 percent of the inventory was organic or “natural.”

What he says now:

Marketing organic and latex mattresses started as a sideline for Get-A-Mattress, but has become a major focus.

“We didn’t want to scare people thinking we are all natural,” Breazeale said. “We’re shocked. It really turned out to be a major force beyond our expectation.”

With 170 mattresses on the floor of its 30,000-square-foot showroom, the store now claims to offer the largest selection of any mattress retailer in the country.

Get-A-Mattress delivers nationwide, but 95 percent of sales still occur in the showroom, Breazeale added. The store employs 17 full-timers and sales since “pre-Thanksgiving” are up 23 percent.

Breazeale and Amaya sold Grand Estate in January and are focusing full time on plans to extend the Get-A-Mattress brand.

“We do have a huge selection of latex mattresses now,” he said. “Manufacturers are offering more latex mattresses.”

They sell for between $1,800 to $8,000 a set, compared to traditional mattress sets that average $1,000 retail, he said. But they are being purchased by consumers in a variety of income categories and age groups.

“It’s not just the rich people who are concerned about it,” Breazeale said. “People will spend on health and they will spend on safety. Arroyo Grande is a good test area for a very middle-class market.”

Latex mattresses are made from the drippings of rubber trees, rather than from petroleum-based products like memory foam.

Those who promote latex beds emphasize that they are biodegradable and they emit lower levels of “volatile organic compounds,” chemical gases released from both natural and man-made materials.

“We have a lot of grandparents who are coming in and insisting on buying natural crib mattresses,” he said. “Everybody is searching for ways to keep their intimate environment cleaner.”

Get-A-Mattress is shopping for locations to open additional stores in Santa Barbara and Santa Monica. It is also exploring ways to franchise through appliance, electronics or other home stores.

“We’re currently looking for partners,” Breazeale said. “We could have somebody up and running in 30 days. It would cost them less than $75,000.”

— Raven J. Railey