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Member Spotlight: Sweet Dreams Mattresses & More

Written by Rob Stott

August 10, 2023

sweet dreams mattresses and more

According to the latest mattress industry data, it’s expected that nearly 17 million mattresses will be sold in the US by the end of this calendar year. That’s a lot of mattresses. But perhaps we should be looking at it from a slightly different perspective: That’s nearly 17 million used mattresses that are being replaced.

What’s unfortunate about that number is that most end up getting thrown away — which is a whole separate and major challenge that could be discussed — despite the fact that nearly all components of a used mattress are able to be recycled into new product. And for those that don’t get recycled, there’s the reality they might only require a little bit of TLC in order to return to a likenew condition in order to get sent back out into the world to provide a good night’s rest.

While that sounds simple enough, it’s often something that’s overlooked by the sleep industry.

And that’s where Keith Moneymaker, owner of Sweet Dreams Mattresses & More in Southern Pines, North Carolina, hopes to open more eyeballs to the opportunity that exists to provide a basic necessity to those individuals and families most in need.

“If you want a community to support your business, you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘What are you doing to support your community?’” says Moneymaker, who launched the Dreams 4 All Foundation in 2017. The organization, which provides independent mattress retailers with an end-to-end playbook for donating used mattresses, has kept more than 5,600 mattresses out of landfills and placed them in homes and shelters where they’re still being used.

“In our industry, we’re literally a home goods industry, these are the first things people come and buy when they move into a home, and what dignity do you have if you came out of a homeless situation, you get a house and you don’t have furniture, because you can’t afford it? Now you’ve got to sleep on the floor,” he says. “Even when I wasn’t 100 percent serious in the business early on, people coming in and being like, ‘Oh, I’ve got a $500 budget for a king set for me and my kids.’ That really hits you as a salesperson. So, I would have nice used beds in the back all the time, and this is pre-charity, so I’d offer it to them for nothing. That’s when everything just changed.”

No one should sleep on the floor, period.

Moneymaker caught the giveback bug. Opportunities continued to pop up during his early career to make donate mattresses. But it was the response to Hurricane Michael in 2018 that truly put the Dreams 4 All Foundation on a path to making a major difference in his community.

“A buddy of mine took a video driving around Lumberton, North Carolina, and in front of every house after the water had gone away was a pile of wet furniture, and on top of that wet furniture was a used mattress. You saw that completely down this whole street,” Moneymaker explains. “I was like, ‘Man, I get used beds back all the time. This is the time.’ So, I just made a Facebook post. I was like, ‘Hey, if you are moving back into a home in Lumberton from the flood, message me, I’ll give you a mattress for free and bring it to you.’”

And from there, the foundation took off.

Soon after the hurricane response efforts, Dreams 4 All was working local fire departments and homeless shelters to bring better sleep conditions to more people in the community.

“No one should sleep on the floor, period,” says Moneymaker. “We’ve got the power to do it as an industry. There’s 50,000 mattresses going to the dump every single day, and the Mattress Recycling Council is only in three states? We’ve got some serious caliber in this business if we just got our heads out of the sand and decide to stand up and do something about it. And that’s what we’re trying to do with Dreams 4 All.”

PROOF IS IN THE PASSION

There are myriad reasons why Dreams 4 All has realized the success and support it has since launching just seven years ago. But Moneymaker’s passion for what he’s doing is so clearly the heartbeat of the organization. He cares so deeply about the mission of the organization and the impact that it’s having in his local community and beyond. Spend five minutes with him and you’ll realize just how infectious that passion is — and it’s his hope that he can expand the organization to other communities via likeminded independent retailers.

“We were just the recipient of a 90 tractor trailer, $15-million dollar product donation that amped up our giving tenfold,” he says. “We’ve been able to give 100 beds here, 100 beds there, to orphanages, camps, recovery homes — all over the place. This is something that any dealer could do, so I’ve been really mind boggled over this concept, like, why aren’t we?”

The hang up, he thinks, is logistics. With independent retail owners so deeply involved in their own day-to- day operations, the thought of expanding their operations to include a major giveback component can be a bit intimidating.

That said, Moneymaker has never faced a challenge he wasn’t willing to tackle head on — including providing other independent dealers the tools they need to stand up a mattress donation business.

“I’ve got a marketing plan, I have branding, we have a playbook, we have digital assets, we have training videos. And we offer this at no cost to dealers,” he says. “It’s a teacher manifesto. I want to give you everything you need to give back to your community. Dreams 4 All and you partner, and you can take all the credit. I’ll show you how to talk about it, and not in a self-boasting way, but you talk to your customer about it. You talk to your sales team about it. The customer feels it, the delivery team feels it. It creates this whole beautiful circle where the customer supports your business, you give a mattress back to a local family and everyone feels good about what you’re doing. And it doesn’t cost you anything.”

To date, Dreams 4 All has developed partnerships with over 30 different local charitable organizations, though he says they’re always looking to expand that number. In addition, Dreams 4 All already works with several equally passionate independent retailers and Nationwide Marketing Group Members to bring similar mattress donation models to their local communities.

OUT OF THE ASHES

With all the effort he puts into the Dreams 4 All Foundation, it’s easy to forget that Moneymaker, by day, is a successful independent mattress store owner in his own right.

Sweet Dreams, which was founded in the early 2000s by Moneymaker’s parents, is a mattress and furniture store that serves the communities around Southern Pines, a town situated almost directly between Raleigh and Charlotte along the southern border of North Carolina. Started as a used furniture store, a fire brought the business to the ground early on, which gave the family a chance to reset.

“There was only one little operation in town at the time, so we re-opened as a small Simmons only mattress store with about 14 beds on the floor in 2002,” Moneymaker explains.

Getting involved in the business happened naturally for him, and he would eventually take over for his parents around 2011. He credits a lot of his own leadership style and business practices on how his parents raised him in the retail world.

“I think there’s plenty of places for kids to grow into the parents’ business, if the parents are involving their kids early enough in the right ways, and not forcing them to do things, teaching them just basic morals,” he says. ”No matter what type of business it is, if you’re doing right by people, by having respect for people, by doing good for others, by having good business practices, I think your kids will follow in those steps, look up to you and want to do that. It naturally happened for me.”

And it’s that outlook that made him realize it wasn’t the type of business that he was involved in that he gravitated towards. It was really the way his parents went about their business that he enjoyed watching and learning from so much.

“I always wondered why I liked selling mattresses, and it turned out it was never about the mattresses,” he says. “It was that I liked dealing with people, and I like talking and I like fostering relationships and I like earning people’s trust. That’s a big thing to me. And then, eventually I learned to love the mattresses too.”

INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL

For anyone that follows the mattress industry or mattress retailing topics on social media, you’ve likely come across Mr. Moneymaker at least once. And once you see him, his is not a face you’d easily forget. With the trademark ZZ Top style beard and his over-the-top personality, Moneymaker is a force when it comes to his social media presence. And it’s had an incredibly positive impact on his business and the work of the foundation.

But, just as you learn that his passion for Dreams 4 All is apparent and infectious, you’ll also come to find that his social media personality is authentic. And that, he says, is the key to the presence he’s tried to build within the industry.

“I’ve had a social media person before, but I’ve been successful I think because people can trust the face on the screen,” Moneymaker says. “I can be a complete goofball, I have no shame in some of the stuff I post. But it builds that trust within the community and with our customers. They know that I’m a real person, that I’m a dad, and that, when they need to, they can come visit us for their mattress and furniture needs.”

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