David Howell and Grant Sparks are more than just business partners. They’re childhood friends who grew up together and went to school together. So when Sparks was looking for someone to help grow the mattress store he started, he knew just whom to turn to.
Howell and Sparks, the Home Furnishings Association’s newest members, own Relaxerie Sleep Shop, a two-store chain just outside Indianapolis that Howell says they hope to grow to 10 stores within five years.
Ambitious? Maybe, but Howell says sales continue to grow over the previous month, and their e-commerce line is just now starting to gain traction. “We’re really excited how people have responded to our (business) model,” says Howell. “I think people have a strong desire these days to shop local and avoid all the hassles of buying a bedroom or dining room set. We’re doing a good job of making this easy for them while still offering a good value.”
Sparks started the business a few years back as a side job. He saw how well a friend was doing selling mattresses, so he bought mattresses on a whim and sold them himself – all within a few hours on Facebook. “So it became, ‘Let’s buy some more.’ And then it kind of took off from there,” says Sparks.
Howell and Sparks have no intention of opening a store in Indianapolis, the nation’s 17th-largest city, according to the U.S. Census, and one of the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest. Instead, they want to cover the Indianapolis-Carmel suburbs with stores. Already they have two in Shelbyville and Batesville. Howell says they hope to open two more stores in other cities next year.
Expanding to furniture
“Business has been good – we want to build on that momentum,” says Howell. So good, in fact, the Relaxerie, which once sold only mattresses and bedroom furniture, is now selling other categories. Howell just came back from his first High Point Market as a buyer and is excited about the expansion.
“We’ve seen a lot of interest outside the bedroom category so we’re going to see what happens,” he says. “So far it’s been a good response. We’re just getting started.”
Howell and Sparks were attracted to the HFA through its many financing options, including Synchrony. They’re also hoping to join the HFA’s Buying Source.
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