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Randy and Vicki Schulz display a "Buy Pueblo" sign outside of their business as a statement of pride.

The couple, former longtime residents of Colorado Springs, moved to Pueblo in 2009 after acquiring a North Side mattress store and launching Pueblo Sleep Solutions. Their store features U.S. products and includes higher-end lines that are not widely available at chain retailers.

A year ago, they moved the store to 4301 N. Elizabeth St. The couple spent heavily to create an inviting showroom, fresh exterior and spacious warehouse out of the site’s run-down building, a former strip club considered one of the city’s commercial eyesores.

For Randy Schulz, a former executive of Mattress World, the new store reflects his business philosophy. Under his vision, cheaper isn’t necessarily better, shoppers will buy from quality hometown merchants and Pueblo is a place where all of that can succeed.

Store Front

"What we did is position ourselves as bringing quality products to Pueblo so the Pueblo consumer has a choice and can invest back in the Pueblo economy, versus the consumer being forced to a national chain ... and the only money that stays in town is the sales tax on the purchase," Schulz said.

"We feel that allowing the customer to keep that money in Pueblo to circulate in the local economy — and carrying only American products — has helped our business."

The couple’s buying of the former strip club property wasn’t done in haste. They went so far as to conduct a market survey to make sure the property’s past wouldn’t keep customers away. In the end, civic pride — and encouraging results from the survey — led them forward.

"Driving down from Colorado Springs every day for two years (on assignment for Mattress World) I drove by this ugly building and it just gave Pueblo a black eye. Part of the decision of buying this property was we had an opportunity to help with that," Schulz said.

Vicki Schulz, a native of Colorado Springs, said the move to the smaller Pueblo has brought the couple a welcome lifestyle change. "It feels like when I was kid as far the population and the way people greet you and welcome you," she said.

Randy Schulz, who lived in Colorado Springs for 24 years after growing up on an Oregon ranch, agreed. "The people make the difference in Pueblo. We really got a warm welcome from our neighbors. The business community welcomed us. We felt good," he said.

Randy & Vicki Shultz

Happy with their new hometown and confident in their business model, the couple didn’t see a reason not to move forward, even with the U.S. economic downturn lingering, Randy Schulz said.

"It’s going back to the basics. You’ve got to have the right product at the right price and the right time and location. And we feel we are offering those things to our consumers," he said.

The store’s bed lines extend all the way to fully adjustable luxury models that sell for $5,000 or more, carry a 25-year guarantee and feature built-in stereo systems and custom lighting, all controlled through a remote control or smartphone.

The couple’s dream for the 1.5-acre site goes beyond the mattress store, Schulz noted. They recently launched an RV storage center on one parcel and, longer term, they hope to add a small strip mall.


Article from The Pueblo Chieftain:

Sleep on it: Mattress shopping should be serious endeavor

By Amy Matthew - the Pueblo Chieftain

It’s a look that Gary Dall is used to seeing. People walk into his workplace and their faces go blank. Eyes lose focus.

"I’d say 90 percent of the people who come in have that look," Dall said.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, buying a mattress — which, as manager of Pueblo Sleep Solutions, is what Dall sells — can be overwhelming. Second, there’s an excellent chance these people are sleep deprived. We’re so desperate for it that the Centers for Disease Control last year declared sleep deprivation a public health epidemic.

"People are looking for anything that will give them a good night’s rest," said Dall.

Where to begin, though? There are mattresses of every type, from traditional innerspring to latex, and within each category are usually more choices. Some people (Dall is one) prefer individually wrapped bed coils. Others like memory foam, or air beds with controls for either side.

Do you want an ecologically friendly mattress? Those are in demand, too; they’re made without any petroleum byproducts. Or maybe a hybrid coil-foam mattress would work best.

It’s enough to wear a shopper out — so a mattress store is a great place to be.

"Shopping for a mattress is not easy," said Dall. “All you see is the outside, but the important stuff is what’s inside and underneath — which (buyers) will either love or come to regret."

Even though the mattress is where we spend about one-third of our day, it’s a purchase that ranks low for many. It’s not particularly exciting.

"You don’t buy a nice mattress and have a party and have your friends over to look at it," Dall said.

However, like dental cleanings and annual physicals, it’s important, so the key is to make the right decision. Pre-shopping research is valuable for learning about the types of mattresses available, but this is one purchase you don’t want to make without firsthand knowledge.

"The butt test — sitting on it — won’t work," said Dall. "Lie on it. Feel it. See if it helps you relax."

One customer, he recalled, came in and spent time on every mattress in the store before determining which one best suited him. His method was correct: The American Chiropractic Association recommends spending a minimum of three to five minutes lying on a mattress to gauge its feel.

For those who aren’t sure what they’re looking for, Dall knows how to get them started.

"My first question is, ‘How did you sleep last night?’ I want to know if they hurt someplace. Do they toss and turn a lot? Do they have neck or lower back problems? What’s their usual sleep position?" he said.

Those issues can indicate improper mattress support. If a mattress is more than eight years old, it probably time to get a new one. There’s another fact at work, too, and that’s human aging.

"As you get older, your needs are going to change before your mattress wears out," said Dall.

Weight changes (in either direction) and medical conditions can affect how a body fits a mattress. Sometimes a switch is the best solution to accommodate the current physical condition.

No matter the reason for getting one, there’s only one person who will know which mattress is best: you.

"Their body is going to help them decide," said Dall.

PICK A PERFECT PILLOW

After choosing a new mattress, there’s one more step to ensuring a restful night: Find the right pillow.

Feather, foam, microbead, down — as with mattresses, there’s no one-size-fits-all for pillows, so take time to find one that feels best for you.

"You want to look for a pillow that isn’t going to break down in just a few weeks," said Gary Dall, manager of Pueblo Sleep Solutions. "You won’t pay $3 for it but it will last."

For back sleepers , medium firmness is best. Your head and neck should not be propped up too high because they will be out of line with your spine.

Stomach sleepers will do better with soft pillows, which help to avoid neck strain.

Side sleepers do well with firm pillows. They give the best support for the head and neck, keeping them in line with the spine.

View article on The Pueblo Chieftain