Made in South Dakota: Mattress Firm

Did you know Mattress Firm was started by three University of South Dakota graduates? Now the bed store has roughly 3,500 stores nationwide.

The three founders from South Dakota made it their goal to change the mattress industry.

"Back in the day it was really just firm, firm, firmest, you know. Those were your choices," Gina Hollister said.

Today the options are endless. Paul and Gina Hollister are the owners and managing partners of Sioux Falls Mattress Firm.

"Mattress Firm was founded by three South Dakotans. Two guys from Mitchell and one from here in Sioux Falls," Paul Hollister said. Paul is actually a nephew of one of the founders.

Harry Roberts, Paul Stork and Steve Fendrick started Mattress Firm 31 years ago in Texas.

"They wanted to make the bedding business better beause it is such an important aspect. Your sleep is so important to your body and health, and they just wanted to take it and grow with it," Gina said.

Now Mattress Firm is the largest mattress retailer in the nation with roughly 3,500 stores. The growth began with just simple fixes.

"They really made some small changes, and it really sounds simple now, but they did things like put carpet on the floor. They took mattresses out of bags, so you could try the mattress. That all sounds really simple, but at that time, no one was doing that. They started sprucing it up a bit. They put more paint on the walls to make it more inviting. They got into shopping centers with more windows," Paul said.

Now many specialty mattress stores have followed suit, but Mattress Firm, is still at the forefront, and it all started with just a trio from South Dakota.