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Rest easy: NEWay Mattress strives for customer comfort, selection

By Ella Houden - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Jul 6, 2024

Image supplied

Toby Wilson, right, is the owner of NEWay Mattress in Ogden.

It’s the retail shopping nightmare: A commission-based salesperson closes in as you enter the mattress showroom, waving off your specific sleep needs while directing you to the most expensive options.

That’s not the case at NEWay Mattress in South Ogden. Located in a shopping plaza at 3689 Washington Blvd., this family-run company keeps the mattress business comfortable, putting patrons at ease with fluffy clouds and a bright blue sky painted on the back wall.

Owner Toby Wilson said this was his mission when conceptualizing the mattress store. He even installed massage chairs “so the customer can try out the mattresses with a relaxed body.”

Wilson says bad mattresses will leave customers feeling tense and stiff when they enter the store, and he wants them to feel at ease before figuring out which mattress is most compatible with their sleeping style.

With 26 years of experience in the mattress industry, Wilson said he knows how to find the most suitable mattresses for his customers: by letting them decide for themselves. He leads them around the store, showing them a handful of options before narrowing them down to the kind of mattress they are seeking.

“We don’t push them to any model,” Wilson said. “We educate the customer and let them find the benefits and features that match their preference and budget.”

Wilson is trained in finding the right fit, but if the customer needs space to test mattresses on their own, he will take a step back. This, he believes, puts the customer at ease so they can figure out what they like without feeling rushed or pushed in one direction or another.

On a recent day, a few customers walked in the door. A couple who had been to the store several times in the past month was having an issue with the manufacturer of their former mattress. The manufacturer refused to fulfill the warranty, noting a split seam and slight discoloration as the reason.

When the manufacturer did not budge, Wilson chose to honor the warranty, finding them a model they loved and could afford if he deducted the warranty amount as a credit.

Wilson explained that his business is successful because “we put the customer first.”

The customer-first mindset Wilson says he brings to every interaction isn’t strictly a boast. His claim is backed up by the many customer service awards lining the walls of his business and also is evidenced by the company’s four years’ worth of Best in Northern Utah awards and their 5-star rating on Google.

“It’s a great feeling when you’ve done your job and they mention it. I love looking at reviews of the store,” Wilson said as he scrolled through some of the ringing endorsements written by customers about their experiences.

In another observed encounter, a pair of customers — in the middle of a 1,500-mile drive from Colorado to Washington while moving to a new state and in need of a new mattress — pulled up because, they said, NEWay was one of the only places carrying the mattress they were looking for with a floor model available for testing. People often discover the business online when researching mattresses.

The couple ordered a mattress that would be delivered to their new home with free shipping through NEWay.

Wilson relayed another sale involving a Utah businessman who was seconds away from booking a flight out of state to test out the same new mattress before finding NEWay advertised on the manufacturer’s website.

While mattresses are often researched online, Wilson is optimistic about the future of in-person mattress stores. “Brick and mortar will never go away because of that customer experience,” he said. “People want to touch, feel, lay, experience how their body reacts to that mattress.”

As a small business, Wilson said, NEWay maintains its competitive advantage because of its family values. “A lot of stores focus on hiring salespeople who work on commission, leading to a lot of overhead and aggressive sales techniques,” he said, which drives up the prices of their mattresses.

“At our family business,” he said, “we can focus on what feels the best on your budget.”

Wilson takes pride in the business’s size and its family-first mindset. A dollar bill is displayed on the wall behind Wilson’s front desk, held up by blue duct tape. Wilson’s father, Rob, another NEWay employee, said the taped bill is the “first dollar made, first mattress ever sold.”

According to Wilson, maintaining a competitive edge is crucial for running a successful small business. Having worked in the mattress industry on and off since 1998, he is not afraid to “pivot.”

When working as a salesman at Crown Waterbeds years ago, Wilson predicted that the once-popular water-filled mattresses would soon become a thing of the past. Wilson saw the writing on the wall for waterbeds, and he still has his eye trained on the future.

“You can be great at being an owner of a store, but if you don’t have the drive to pivot when you have to pivot, looking for new technology and staying on the cutting edge, people lose out on growing their business,” he said, referencing his shift in 2023 to carrying different mattress brands to outpace his competitors. He was responding to the impact of inflation on his business, and if he had not made that choice a year ago, the couple moving to Washington would not have found his store online.

Asked about the name of his business, Wilson said, “When you Google NEWay, it means anyway, and we want your mattresses any way you want it.”

There’s the old adage about waking up on the right side of the bed, but Wilson said NEWay Mattress wants customers to wake up in the right bed. Its slogan promises these mattresses will provide a “New Way to Start Your Day.”

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