Levin Mattress (aka Levin Furniture) is opening some big stores in the Pittsburgh and NE Ohio markets.
Levin Furniture is taking one of its core products — the mattress — and rolling out a new store concept around it.
So far, the company has established a new Levin Mattress store in Squirrel Hill and added a store within the larger Levin Furniture store that opened in Greensburg this week. But its expansion plans go beyond these early moves.
Robert Levin, president and CEO of the 90-year-old family business, said the company is searching for locations to open four or five Levin Mattress stores in the Pittsburgh area in the next 18 months and also is searching the Cleveland area. He said he is seeking locations of 3,000 to 5,000 square feet in high-traffic areas away from the established and much larger Levin Furniture stores.
“It’s a category that’s very important in the furniture industry,” Levin said. In fact, it represents 20 percent of Levin’s sales. “There’s been a tendency among major regional furniture retailers around the United States to open up mattress stores as a way to solidify their business.”
Levin offered a number of reasons to roll out Levin Mattress as its own store: It’s a product that often offers new upgrades and technology to spur customers; the new stores will enable Levin Furniture to better leverage its advertising dollars; and opening new mattress specialty stores can serve as a defensive strategy to keep potential competitors from setting up shop in Levin’s regional markets of western Pennsylvania and Cleveland.
“There are a lot of other regional chains from outside the market that may or may not be interested in entering the Pittsburgh market,” Levin said. “The best defense is a good offense.”
Pittsburgh certainly doesn’t lack “sleep shop” chains, as they’re called in the industry, whether it’s such stores as Mattress Discounters, which has 16 locations in the Pittsburgh area, the Original Mattress Factory, or mainline department stores and warehouse clubs that typically carry some mattress lines.