Owner of Today’s Bed Inc.
Chicago native Scott Michelsen, owner of Woodbury-based Today’s Bed Inc., has worked in the retail mattress industry for 28 years.
He actually cut his teeth in retail selling encyclopedias door to door before taking a job selling mattresses for a Chicago store. He worked his way up to senior regional manager and helped grow the chain from four to 55 stores.
He later branched out on his own with two business partners and bought a 19-store mattress chain in Chicago that grew to 90-plus stores before he sold his shares in the company in 2005. He signed a noncompete agreement as part of the sale, moved his family to Arizona and started a retail-consulting company.
His noncompete expired in 2010, and he launched Today’s Bed a year later. Michelsen chose the Twin Cities as his test market to open stores and is working with retail broker Andrea Christenson with the Minneapolis office of Cassidy Turley to find sites. He has stores in Woodbury and Burnsville, and a third is planned in St. Louis Park. His stores carry various national mattress brands.
Q: You got your start in sales selling encyclopedias?
A: “I did and on a cold, crummy Chicago wintry day when you liked your job a little less going door to door, I tried selling encyclopedias to an owner of a mattress store. … He offered me a job. ... That was November 1985, and I’ve been in the mattress business ever since.”
Q: After 13 years working there, did you enjoy running your own business?
A: “I was living the dream.”
Q: Why did you sell your shares to your partners?
A: “I wanted to buy them out, but it didn’t shake out that way. In what sometimes happens in partnerships, we saw a little bit different direction. … I moved my family to Arizona and was doing retail consulting. I was also studying the market with an eye that I would relaunch some day.”
Q: How did you prepare for your relaunch?
A: “I checked out many cities, but when I narrowed it down to the Twin Cities, I spent the summer of 2011 studying the market top to bottom – analyzing it, researching it, the real estate, the competitors, everything.”
Q: Did the demographics draw you?
A: “That for starters. Also, a lot of the mattresses sold in the Twin Cities are sold out of furniture stores. My niche is a little different—not only am I a mattress store, but we refer to ourselves as sleep-solution providers. That seemed to resonate here. Everything I do is based on health, a good night sleep and what it can do for you.”
Q: What’s your real estate criteria?
A: “5,000 to 6,000 square feet. … My preference is stand-alone outlots and pads.”
Q: How many stores can the Twin Cities support?
A: “10 to 12.”
Q: What about other markets?
A: “The sky’s the limit ... but I want to build something here that has an absolute rock-solid foundation before I even consider going to another market.”