Member Spotlight: Sweet Dreams Mattress & Furniture

Written by Rob Stott

March 6, 2024

Hearing the phrase “Dream Team” for most individuals will often elicit visions of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, David Robinson, Charles Barkley and John Stockton (among many others) running up and down the courts in Barcelona in 1992. That American Olympic team was the first to feature a collection of active NBA superstars, and they absolutely overwhelmed the competition on their way to a gold medal.

The way the team was built is often imitated in sports, but the level of success and sheer domination has never truly been replicated. As loaded as the roster was with pure talent, what made the Dream Team so special was how well the players complemented one another. They all knew the role they played, and they ultimately bought fully into what USA Basketball Head Coach Chuck Daly was selling.

And what he was selling was a culture of complementary play. Egos were checked at the gym door. No matter what a Jordan or Bird had accomplished, they were no more deserving of having the ball in their hands in the final seconds than the next guy.

While the team they’re building will never have to worry about hitting two clutch free throws at the end of a game, Greg and Katy Law have borrowed a thing or two from Daly as they build their own Dream Team. The culture that they’ve established at Sweet Dreams Mattress & Furniture has allowed them to get immediate buy-in with any new employee, and it’s led to over two decades of success for the company.

“We really feel like Sweet Dreams has been a blessing to our family and a blessing to us, and we want to do the best that we can with it,” Greg Law said during a recent Independent Thinking Podcast interview. “We’re getting things done as a team. And a big reason why is because we defined our core values early on and we continue to live by them to this day. If we didn’t do that, everybody would just be making up their own values, and we’re not rowing in the same direction. Because of those things and more, we’ve felt less stress, and we’ve been having more fun.”

No matter the economic conditions, people management and employee engagement are going to always be a critical part of any Independent retailer’s success. When you’re able to find the right individuals to join your team and have them buy into your vision and your culture, they’re going to contribute to your overall success. Simply put, culture is the key ingredient in any winning formula — and it’s something that Sweet Dreams certainly keeps well stocked in its pantry.


There’s much that goes into finding the best people to join your organization, starting with your approach to the interview process. However, once hired, it’s imperative to set that new employee up for success from day one.

For the Sweet Dreams team, that Day One experience is among the most critical moments of any employee’s tenure with the company.

“On their first day, Kathryn and I like to take them to breakfast,” says Greg, referring to his sister Kathryn Gaus, who helped form and continues to lead the Sweet Dreams human resources team. “We sit down with them and learn more about them, first of all. What drives them, what motivates them, even more than we picked up in the interview process. Then we share with them a little bit about the story of Sweet Dreams and their role in the company history.”

That history isn’t just a glossed–over timeline of accomplishments and milestones, either. Law dives into the full background, detailing the role his parents played in helping he and Katy get the business off the ground. He shares about his time working in the restaurant and bar business in college and how hospitality is engrained in everything they do. And by the end of the story, he’ll explain how the original Dream Team of four people has grown to over 40 and how they’ve gotten to a point where they needed additional help — and that’s where you come in, new employee, to help them reach new heights.

“We’re all about making a difference, one person at a time, and trying to connect and surprise and delight our customers and our Dream Team members,” he says. “It’s a great story and a great opportunity to share with them why we need them, what they need to be, what’s expected of them, and what we’re hoping to be able to achieve with them doing a good job in their role.”


Founded in 2002 in Mooresville, North Carolina, Sweet Dreams didn’t take long to take off as a business. By the end of that first decade, Greg and Katy started to open additional locations and bring on more employees. Realizing the need to keep their people processes in order, and heeding Kathryn’s advice on the matter as an HR professional by trade, they brought her on full time to lead those efforts and formalize their talent management team in 2010. Sweet Dreams joined Nationwide Marketing Group in 2014, and Kathryn experienced her first PrimeTime in 2017, which is when everything began to click for her and the rest of the Dream Team.

“I soaked up every opportunity in the training programs through the Nationwide Learning Academy,” she says. “We really started to apply things that we learned and think outside of the box. Changing our work culture for employees that just are raving fans of being our employees. At that point, it really started to shift, with HR becoming our employees’ customer service department. But Nationwide has been so instrumental in that evolution.”

And Sweet Dreams has found numerous ways to serve their employees in ways that truly do elevate their time and experience within the company. One example, the development of Dream Team University, an ongoing educational path that allows Sweet Dreams to not only train their employees on core retail sales functions but develop them as leaders as well.

“For me, personally, at the end of my career, I want to be able to look back on this time and, equally as important as making an impact on the customers we serve, probably even more so is what impact do we have on the people that worked here?” Greg explains. “With Dream Team University, either you’re getting a degree with Sweet Dreams so you can move on toward another career, and look back and say, ’That was a special part of my life that allowed me to get to those dreams.’ Or maybe you want to stay on as a professor and make a career out of Dream Team University and help us grow the company. Either way, you feel like you’re a part of something special.”

Kathryn notes two important elements of the Dream Team University program, specifically related to how the idea was originated. First, it was born out of a simple employee engagement survey and spending time with each member of the team, opening a line of communication to understand what they enjoyed about their job, where they experienced frustration, etc.

“I think communication has been a huge,” she says. “We’re doing much better on the communication piece. I think that’s one of those things that can always just get better. But, man, we’re working on it on a daily, weekly basis.”

The other aspect of the program that she highlights is the way it gives employees a purpose. “Everybody has their own vision within the company of how they can learn, grow, work hard, play hard, serve others and grow within the company,” she says. “Everybody wants to have autonomy; everybody wants to have mastery and purpose in what they do. That’s what we’re working toward.”

By placing their people at the center of everything they do and everything they stand for, Sweet Dreams has benefited tremendously. Kathryn notes that retention rates have greatly improved over the years since implementing some of the things she’s learned from her peers and through Nationwide. That, of course, has an impact on the bottom line, not having to recruit and hire for constant turnover. But higher retention rates also make it much easier to maintain the culture that Sweet Dreams has worked so hard to establish.

“A whole team full of people are going to have different personalities and different strengths, but everybody’s going to appreciate being a part of an organization that is well organized and fair and designed around investing in its people,” Greg says. “That’s what I’m really proud of Kathryn for implementing. It’s delivering that impression on our people so that they can feel like they’re a part of something bigger.”

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