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The Back Story: Simmons Mattress Co. first led the industry into the No-Flip 1-sided design back in 2000. They marketed their mattress by saying it was better and more maintenance free. Their major competitors followed suit. Raw material costs were skyrocketing. Petroleum, the chief component required to make polyurethane foam, and steel the other major component needed to build mattresses, were the primary culprits of increases. In 2007, The Consumer Product Safety Commission pushed through a new federal standard for flammability of mattress sets referred to as 16 CFR Part 1633. The law was partially responsible for increased cost due to 3rd party flammability testing and the new mandated audit trail of paperwork proving compliance. The stringent flame testing proved to be even more expensive and harder to pass. Mattress builders found that changing to one side mattresses made it easier to pass the testing with only one side and cut costs because the unused bottom side didn’t require the high dollar foams and fabrics needed to sleep on.
Could Private Equity Firms who took over ownership of major mattress players Spring Air in 2005, Sealy In 2004, Serta In 2005, and most notably Simmons Bedding Group be to blame? The opinions of many critics of Private Equity Firms think so. One time industry leader Simmons has been held by private equity groups nearly a half dozen times starting back in the 1990’s. Critics suggest that private equity firms take advantage of free-market capitalism using available government subsidies for its earnings. In addition to relying on old financial tricks to line corporate pockets they could greatly increase wealth by exploiting how the U.S. tax system works instead of relying on good management or even solid investing skills. This issue is rampant in US, industrywide. Bought a household appliance lately? I purchased a Maytag Neptune front-load washer for $1200.00. It lasted 6 years. I’ll bet that Maytag repairman isn’t so lonely now.
Was it a conspiracy of the “S” brands, government intervention run amuck, or just inflation that caused the flippable beds to disappear? Whatever the reason, the fact is, you still can find and buy double sided mattresses that can be flipped over. While they are more difficult to locate, companies like STL Beds have gone against the grain, sourcing lesser known vendors like Campbell, Symbol, Corsicana, and King Koil who still make those great old mattresses. The store doesn’t just offer 1 or 2 models either, they have a showroom full with a wide variety of firmness to fit comfort and support needs for anyone: This includes the old school rock hard firm, momma bear just right medium and soft luxurious 2 sided pillow tops.