Less than a year after graduating from the University of Kentucky, insurance agent and Louisville native, Kim Brown Knopf answered an ad looking for people to sell mattresses. Her interest piqued, she began investigating the bedding business. Decisive and entrepreneurial, the 23-year-old chose Charleston, W.Va. as the place to open her own business. She moved there in August 1983 and opened her first store, Mattress Warehouse, in October in nearby South Charleston.
Kim handled all facets of her budding business, from buying merchandise, to advertising and selling it, to finally delivering it. There were days when she wouldn’t see a single customer, but she persevered in the knowledge that hers was the first business of its kind in the state – a specialty sleep shop offering brand name mattresses, on-hand inventory, excellent service and the lowest prices, guaranteed.
Kim continued opening new Mattress Warehouse stores across West Virginia; however, licensing agreements dictated that the name could not be used outside the state. So, when the company wanted to expand into Kentucky in 2002, the Sleep Outfitters brand was born. Over the next two years, a series of acquisitions would double the company’s size. In 2004, the acquisition of Westco Group in Akron, Oh. and Mattress Firm in Louisville, Ky. added 15 stores to the chain, making it 30-stores strong. Now, with stores all over West Virginia, Lexington, Louisville, Cleveland and Cincinnati, Mattress Warehouse/Sleep Outfitters was on its way to becoming a regional force in the retail bedding business.
Mattress Warehouse & Sleep Outfitters have 140 stores in 6 states KY, WV, OH, TN, AL and IN. Kim’s founding philosophy of providing the best products at the lowest prices continues to drive the company’s success.