Metro Mattress, a Syracuse-based company that has grown across upstate, has bought the four-store Lockport Mattress chain.
Lockport Mattress filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2006. Metro acquired the business for $750,000, said William Lawson, an attorney for the debtor.
The deal gives Metro Mattress an immediate presence on South Transit Road in Lockport, Military Road in Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls Boulevard in the Town of Tonawanda, and McKinley Parkway in Hamburg.
Metro Mattress hasn't yet put its name on the stores but plans to make the change soon, said David Shiroff, who bought Metro Mattress in 2000. Shiroff said all 17 of Lockport Mattress' full-time employees were offered jobs.
While Metro Mattress has just entered the Buffalo market, it is already working on expansion plans. Shiroff said he expects to have two new locations open by the end of this year, and plans to eventually have a total of nine or 10 stores in this market.
That would mark a turnaround for the Lockport Mattress chain that was founded in 1994 and once had six stores. It ran into financial trouble partly due to a sister company, Sleepco, that was formed in 2005 to sell Serta mattresses. Those three stores ended up closing, as did two Lockport Mattress locations.
Lockport Mattress had sold a majority stake to a Wisconsin-based company, VyMac, that was operating the four stores.
Still unclear is whether Metro Mattress will maintain Lockport Mattress' manufacturing of its own mattresses. Shiroff said that production will continue for now, but his company is evaluating whether to keep that part of the business for the long term.
"It's an opportunity that we've never had before," he said.
Including the four Buffalo area stores, Metro Mattress now consists of 28 locations. Metro Mattress was founded in the mid 1970s and has added 19 stores in the seven years since Shiroff has acquired the company.
It expanded into Rochester and Utica in the 1990s, and branched out into Albany in 2005. The company has three Albany stores and plans to double that number by the end of this year.
As for expanding into Buffalo: "It was really a natural progression for us," he said.
By entering via an acquisition, Metro Mattress starts out with established locations that shoppers are familiar with and experienced
employees, not to mention one less competitor to contend with, Shiroff said.
Metro Mattress differs with many of its competitors because it sells a variety of top-selling brands, rather than concentrating on just one or two of the the biggest names, he said.
Companywide, Metro Mattress has about 150 employees.
The International Sleep Products Association reported that 43.1 million mattress and foundation units were shipped last year, down 1.4 percent from 2006. In wholesale dollars, the value of units shipped was $6.8 billion, up 4.7 percent from 2005. The group forecasts that unit shipments will rise 1 percent in 2007 and 2.5 percent next year, with the dollar value of those shipments growing 5.5 percent and 7 percent, respectively.