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Water, air wide awake.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Water, air and other alternative sleep surfaces continue to carve out a niche in the bedding industry.

Two dozen players in the specialty sleep and bedroom categories displayed their wares at the Bedroom Show here last week. And, according to manufacturers and members of the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA), the future is looking good for the alternative sleep market.

Simmons, long a major presence at larger markets in High Point and San Francisco, participated in the Bedroom Show for the first time.

"At the High Point market we see many specialty sleep and flotation dealers, but we don't get to spend a lot of time with them," noted Craig Dorsher, vice president and general manager of specialty sleep products for Simmons. "The Bedroom Show is an opportunity to meet with dealers who don't go to High Point and to spend quality time with each dealer."

Simmons' new Air Sleep System and its Sleep Logic line were touted at the Bedroom Show. The Air Sleep System, a joint venture with Price Mfg., has dual adjustability and Price's proprietary AirPedic support system. Sleep Logic alternatives include waveless and free-flow flotation tubes, Simmons' Beautyrest Pocket Coil springs, air or foam inserts. Strobel, manufacturer of air beds, water beds, and Supple-pedic, a sleep system utilizing NASA-developed Polyfilax and a Lever-Spring support unit, has attended the Bedroom Show in prior years, but displayed its most recent product, Supple-pedic, at the show for the first time.

While Supple-pedic has been very well received at the last two High Point markets, Strobel targeted a new audience via the Bedroom Show.

"The Bedroom Show is different from the others because there is a mainstay group who attends," commented Bill Tile, vice president of marketing for Strobel. "It makes sense for us to be there. The dealers who are there are knowledgeable about the benefits of flotation and other alternative sleep surfaces. They are already interested in our products."

Other manufacturers, including Boyd Flotation, agree the combination of a growing specialty bedding market and a targeted, interested audience make the show worth attending.

"The category of what we call fluid suspension is alive and well and continues to grow," reported Irv Saathoff, regional sales manager for Boyd."At the Bedroom Show, the key thing for us is that there are some very sophisticated retailers there. It's an opportunity to show and discuss the more complex side of fluid and other alternative sleep systems."

"People look at so many other things at High Point or Tupelo or the other markets. Their focus isn't really on alternative sleep. We also show a lot more product at the Bedroom Show than we do at the other shows."

Among Boyd's new introductions is a high ticket ($1,999 queen) addition to its Natural Spring line. The Sapphire fluid suspension mattress is a jumbo double pillowtop with latex, cashmere and high-density supersoft foam fill.

Halcyon Waterspring, makers of airbeds, flotation beds as well as innerspring beds and waterbed temperature-control devices, also spotlighted a number of new products at the Bedroom Show.

"We wanted to give Waterspring dealers a wide range of choices from the $299 to $999 queen retail price points. This way they can create the flotation line that is exactly right for their stores," explained John Ross, vice president of sales.

Ten new flotation beds and two airbeds were added to the Waterspring line, as well as an air bed line under Halcyon's Strata brand.
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Title Annotation:bed manufacturers exhibiting at 1997 Bedroom Show
Author:Garau, Rebecca
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:May 12, 1997
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