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Futons are just a few of the items for sale at Budget Mattress Center in Warsaw.
Business Spotlight

Reinventing for future

Budget Mattress Center works to stay competitive, current

Photos by Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Karen Knuckles is the co-owner of Budget Mattress Center in Warsaw.

Budget Mattress Center

Address: 1787 Kosciusko Drive in Warsaw.

At a glance: Provides traditional and specialty sleep products, carrying all types of bedding

Employees: 4

When was the company founded: 1987

Biggest accomplishment in the past 12 months: The 25th anniversary of the business was celebrated in April. The company also has successfully reinvented itself multiple times, such as changing its emphasis from waterbeds to memory-foam mattresses and futons.

What was your biggest mistake in operating this business: Not cutting back on the waterbed line. The product sold well in the 1990s, but that changed. Not responding quickly enough, coupled with the recession, hurt business.

What are the key challenges facing your business or industry: Being able to compete with the Internet. Consumers will often have no qualms about buying a mattress online even when they can’t try them out first. Online retailers don’t have the overhead of bricks-and-mortar stores and are able to sometimes be cheaper, but that doesn’t mean better.

What is your strategy for staying ahead of your competition: The company plans to begin offering online sales in the future. Presently, the business has a website, but it is for information purposes only. Even so, business is on the upturn. Pent-up demand and the recession’s end are the reasons.

What resources have you found most helpful in running a business: Talking with other specialty sleep companies around northeast Indiana and throughout the Midwest is beneficial. They network during conference calls every two weeks, giving each other recommendations and advice.

What are your growth projections for the next five years: Expecting 2 percent business growth each year. Annual sales in 2011 were $800,000.

What is one thing about your business that people might not be aware of: Still battling with the image that the business primarily is a waterbed retailer. Despite shedding “waterbed” from its name in 2010, many customers still too closely associate the company with the product.

If you weren’t running this business, what would you be doing: Working with animals, maybe a veterinarian.

Source: Brent and Karen Knuckles, owners Compiled by Paul Wyche of The Journal Gazette Business Spotlight profiles small businesses that are at least three years old and have 100 or fewer employees. To recommend a business, email the name of the company and the name and phone number of a contact person to or fax to 461-8893.