Sleeping is easier on a bargain bed

May 06, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Paying department store prices for a bed led John Ahern into the mattress and bedding business five years ago.

Now, the 31-year-old businessman is opening his third Mattress Warehouse, this one in Westminster's Crossroads Square shopping center. The other locations are in Frederick and Rockville.

"I went to buy a bed and the prices were real high," he said. "So, I decided this would be a real good thing to do."

Brand-name bedding -- Serta, Sealy, Symbol and Sterns and Foster -- at discount prices is all Mattress Warehouse sells, said Gary Knowles, Westminster's store manager. The store offers traditional mattresses and box springs, as well as "soft-side" water beds.

Soft-side water beds look like regular mattresses, and use standard sheets and bed frames.

"We're really into customer service and selling name-brand bedding exclusively," said Mr. Knowles, a retail furniture and bedding salesman for 15 years. "We sell the full gamut, from the good values to the top of the line, discounting it all."

Mr. Ahern says that the store's prices, ranging from $78 to $599 for a mattress and box spring set, are the lowest in the area.

Washington Checkbook Bargains, a consumer magazine that compares prices, listed the small chain as having the best prices, Mr. Knowles said. A Serta Perfect Sleeper Fantasia Pillow-Soft, listed at $1,100 for a best buy in Consumer Digest, sells for $899 at Mattress Warehouse, he said.

"We've shopped every store in the area, and we're a lot lower," Mr. Ahern said.

Mattress Warehouse offers free same- or next-day delivery from the 25,000-square-foot Frederick warehouse for all mattress set purchases over $350, Mr. Knowles said. Or, customers can take their purchases away themselves the same day.

Customers also receive a free bed frame for any mattress set over $100, and old mattresses are picked up and taken to the county landfill without charge, he said. "The landfill recycles them," Mr. Ahern said.

Mr. Ahern also said his store offers the largest selection of day beds and brass beds on the East Coast. The store carries more than 40 types of day beds, he said.

"We carry every single make and model, unlike department stores," he said. "We have a price guarantee that if we can't beat a bed price, we'll give it to you for free."

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