Every 10 years or so you probably buy a new mattress. That’s the typical thinking.
It’s odd, though, that something we spend so much time with (and on) takes up so little of our brain power. We lay on them every night, do little to no maintenance on them and really only consider buying a new bed or mattress when we see a good deal after the mystical 10 year period has elapsed.
Verlo and its recently-renovated flagship store at 6501 W. Layton Ave. wants to change this. The Milwaukee-maker of mattresses isn’t alone in wanting to solve our sleep challenges or change our minds about what we want and need in a mattress. It is, though, unique in its transparent, modern and comfortable approach.
The end of last year unveiling of the rebranded and redesigned Verlo store featured new mattress collections utilizing the latest sleep technology and an entirely new mattress selection process. This new process isn’t one based on price and laying awkwardly on a showroom bed. Rather it includes beacon-enabled iPads and easy-to-understand icons to help you identify which mattress might best fit your needs.
It’s cool. And fun.
Apple Store is an easy comparison for this new Verlo store, but it’s not quite that. The Greenfield store is very welcoming and almost instantly alleviates some of the bad design feelings that a local furniture or national mattress store can elicit.
The store is the result of three years of research, planning and development. And, it shows. Really shows.
One thing that stands out as you tour the pods to find your best bed is that Verlo tells you and shows you exactly how the bed is made. In fact, the factory is attached to the store and showcased via huge windows. You can watch your bed being made, ask questions and even help make your mattress.
"We wanted to demystify the mattress. There’s no magic in making what is basically a big subway sandwich of pieces and parts. The magic in this for the customer is that they get to see how it’s all made, and if they want to, our customers can actually help make their products," said Chris Nolte, CEO of Verlo Mattress.
Making your own bed doesn’t cost any more or less as Verlo’s factory direct cost structure keeps all prices competitive. Constructing the bed you sleep on might not appeal to everyone, but it’s available and helps personalize the buying process and lessen the sales talk.
"You’ll hear so much less sales talk here, we won’t try to move you from one bed to another. It’s all clearly laid out and people can self select based upon price and features with a logical flow that makes it transparent and simple," said Nolte.
It is pretty easy to walk through the store and if I wanted a salesperson he/she responded or I just let the iPad and the questions it asks me guide me. It’s slick.
Another creative tie in at the store is Verlo’s leverage of its parent company, Marcus Investments. Marcus, of course, owns hotels and beds often help make or break a hotel goer's experience.
"Have you ever slept on a hotel mattress and said, "This is awesome?" But, then, what did you do about it? Well, the genius of Marcus Investments buying Verlo is that it can use the product in its hotels. And, of course, then you try before you buy," said David Marcus, president of Marcus Investments.
In the Greenfield store is a Pfister Hotel set up with photos and a bed like you’d see at Marcus’ marquee Downtown Milwaukee hotel. You don’t, though, have to buy The Pfister bed when you shop at Verlo. All beds come with Lifetime Comfort Guarantee and soon may even be able to let Verlo do regular maintenance on your mattress. You do it on your car; why not your bed.
The company has 24 locations in Wisconsin and more than 40 nationwide, but its showcase store in Greenfield is where it’s heading. The Verlo people like to talk about the "retail transformation" of the store. It’s indeed a transformative experience that just might also give you a better night’s sleep
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.