From the Bottom Up
Story by Elizabeth Quinn | Feb 27, 2018
Photography by Keith Borgmeyer
JC Mattress Factory celebrates 90 years furnishing JCMO.
With more than 100,000 square feet to work with — the size of 92 football fields — JC Mattress Factory covers every home necessity in their complex. However, this family-owned business was not always the exquisite example of entrepreneurship it is today.
JC Mattress dates all the way back to 1927 in Jefferson City. The company went through two owners before 1969, when Kenneth Clark bought the company. At the time, JC Mattress was a factory, but it lacked modern equipment to make mattresses; as such, it was more of a re-renovated mattress company, says David Mehmert, the current owner.
“[Clark] built a business from there,” says Mehmert. “There wasn’t much of a business at that time.”
A Change in Scenery
Clark soon went to work turning the business into a true factory that produced bedding. The first task was to build quilted covers and introduce furniture, which widened the variety of products JC Mattress offered.
During the first part of Clark’s ownership, JC Mattress was in a building in the heart of Missouri Boulevard, where an antique mall currently resides. The 22,000-square-foot location was two stories, which strictly limited the layout and easy maneuvering of furniture. When Clark began making furniture, it was clear that the factory had outgrown its space. The next mission was to find a new facility for the business.
“The mattress factory was always our first love,” says Mehmert, “but furniture quickly became part of it.”
Around 1990, Clark found a building down a dirt road. Although a dirt road wasn’t ideal, Clark saw potential for JC Mattress to grow at this location. At first, the two locations worked together: the new location was used to produce mattresses, which helped free up some space at the Missouri Boulevard location. But it wasn’t long until JC Mattress outgrew that building again.
The new, 30,000-square-foot location on Horner Road worked until the company began to grow faster. Once the furniture was placed inside, there was still a need for an additional storage warehouse. That was the next project for Clark: an additional 20,000-square-foot building. When that was built, Clark realized it was “too good” to be a warehouse, so the area was converted into another retail space, Mehmert says. But they still needed a warehouse, which meant yet another expansion was in order.
A New Generation
After Clark’s passing in 1999, the business went to David and Kay Mehmert (Kay is Clark’s daughter), who have continued to grow the business. In 2004, JC Mattress built a new store in Osage Beach. In 2016, JC Mattress introduced Magnolia Home furniture from “Fixer Upper” star Joanna Gaines to customers. And, of course, JC Mattress has continued to produce two-sided bedding, the only style they manufacture.
“There’s nothing in St. Louis like the selection we have,” says Kay. She had this exact conversation with a customer who was willing to travel from St. Louis to Jefferson City because JC Mattress offers a wider variety. There more 50 brands currently in the store and more than one million items listed online.
“We have everything for everyone, from those who are just starting out to those who want the designer look,” Kay says.
Their delivery services reach anywhere up to a 75-mile radius so customers can get the furniture they need easily. They also offer immediate delivery.
Success from Within
Through the years, JC Mattress Factory has continuously grown (albeit slowly at times), allowing the company to expand and improve customer experience and offer more jobs. Kay and David say the company’s true success is because of the people behind it, employees and supporters. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without our customers,” David says.
Currently, JC Mattress employees 40 people, including sales, office, and warehouse staff members, many of whom have worked for the company for more than 30 years.
“That’s been our success: our employees,” David says. “The people who have made this business have been one of our huge accomplishments.”
Whether it’s in Jefferson City, Columbia, Lake Ozark, Osage Beach, Sunrise Beach, Eldon, Holts Summit, Linn, California, Ashland, or Camdenton, JC Mattress has the ability to serve its customers’ needs. The once small building on Missouri Boulevard has grown into a full-fledged powerhouse.
Power to the Future
You’re sitting on your couch, ready to relax for the night and catch up on your favorite TV series. As you sit down in the chair, you press one button. The couch begins to recline backwards, allowing your feet to extend out and your back to sink into a nearly 180-degree angle. This is the future of luxury furniture. This is power-motion furniture.
JC Mattress Factory began renovating part of their store in October 2017 to showcase all available power-motion furniture. The expansive room is filled with pillars that hold the power for the furniture. A pan of the room shows almost 50 different choices in power-motion furniture.
There wasn’t always a place for these items. It wasn’t until three or four years ago that the power-motion furniture industry truly took off. Although power furniture is not necessarily new, there are new features, such as a power headrest and lumbar support, says David Mehmert, owner of JC Mattress.
The switch to compete in the technology-first generation has been quick. Prior to the power-motion showroom, JC Mattress was struggling to find enough electrical outlets for the furniture.
Last year, the Mehmerts made a decision to convert the old clearance room to a power-motion room. There were a couple of problems along the way, however. There was no air-conditioning. Not enough outlets. The floor was concrete and looked “junky”, says Kay Mehmert.
The remodeling began, and soon the power-motion room was ready and equipped with an air-conditioning system, a heating system, drywall, polished concrete floors, and columns that hold about 40 outlets each.
“It’s a lifestyle product,” Kay says. The power-motion furniture is more than just a luxurious relaxation item; it’s practical for the busy techy because it’s sometimes stocked with USB ports to charge phones or tablets.
“The furniture industry has changed big time. Styles have changed,” David says. “Power has become an important part of the industry.”