Retail has been in Keith Moneymaker’s blood since he was born. But in 2016 he found his calling, as he puts it. That’s the year Moneymaker started the Dreams 4 All Foundation — a nonprofit that takes old mattresses (like the ones his customers are replacing when they purchase a new one from his Sweet Dreams Mattresses & More store), refurbishes them and puts them in the homes of those most in need. We sat down with Keith at PrimeTime in Dallas to talk about business and learn more about how he’s providing a blueprint for other mattress retailers looking to give back.
Rob Stott: All right, we are back on the Independent Thinking … You can laugh, it’s all right to laugh. We’re here in Primetime, we’re having a good time, let the people at home know we’re having a good time. Mr. Keith, I love your name by the way, Keith Moneymaker. Man, we’ve engaged a lot on social media, but first time here on the podcast. So first of all, appreciate you joining Sweet Dreams Mattress and More, and the Dreams 4 All Foundation. Joining us here at Primetime, and we’ve got a lot to dive into. But first of all, reaction to what’s going on here. Are you having a good time?
Keith Moneymaker: Yeah, yeah. Times are great, I’m grateful to have a good staff. I get distracted easily, it’s not a good trait of mine, so my manager gives me a list like, “All right, you’ve just got to place all these orders at these places. You only need to do XY and Z.” Because I come here to socialize and network and try to word-of-mouth for our charity operation, and really grow my charitable efforts and try to get other people involved in our industry, more than just coming here to do business. So, it’s a relationship building aspect for me.
Rob Stott: Yeah. You’re in North Carolina, right?
Keith Moneymaker: Yep. Pinehurst, Southern Pines area, an hour south of Raleigh. A lot of people know it for golf.
Rob Stott: Big PGA events happen at Pinehurst, right?
Keith Moneymaker: Yeah, yeah.
Rob Stott: It’s a hopping area for that sport.
Keith Moneymaker: Hopefully make some money, if you talk about it enough on the podcast.
Rob Stott: Right. Hey, sponsorship, let me get a round, just a round, that’s all I need. So, how’s business there in that area?
Keith Moneymaker: Business is great, area’s growing, a lot of moving parts. It’s that sweet little honey spot, everybody’s secret, and then eventually five, six years ago that secret got out. We’re by Fort Bragg, we’re an hour south of Raleigh, we’re two hours from the beach, we’re three hours from the mountains, and it’s a very nice area. It’s an affluent area, it’s growing, it’s blossoming. We have six different downtown areas people can go to. Then the golf is growing crazy, so it’s turned into a big investment property area too. So all around the area economy’s doing well, not in aspect of people that can’t afford $1200 minimum rent, which is a problem in a lot of places, but it’s going good.
Rob Stott: Well, and walk us through the store itself. Is it a one-store operation? So what’s it like walking into your business and what’s the customer see, what’s that experience? We’re here in Dallas talking about customer obsession, right? So things we’re doing to elevate that experience. What is that experience like at Sweet Dreams and More?
Keith Moneymaker: So the customer obsession, as far as from a personal standpoint to me, means just what I’ve been preaching and doing the past I’d say six, eight, 10, 12 years. We’ve been in business 21 years, but my endgame is not necessarily customer obsessed, but it’s people obsessed. It’s doing the right thing by your community, and by that naturally happening people will flock and support your business, and build an amazing network and support system for it. Yeah, a lot of those people are customers, but just by doing right by the community you create so many more customers by doing that. So if you have a business in a town and you want the town to support your business, then what are you doing to support your community?
Rob Stott: No, I love that. How long have you been in the business?
Keith Moneymaker: Family business 21 years, I took it over about 12 years ago.
Rob Stott: How’d you get into the business?
Keith Moneymaker: So, parents had a used furniture store that burned down back in 2001, that was their livelihood, they bought and sold used furniture, they bought households and stuff. The roofer was working on the fire on a windy day and caught the roof on fire, and when the roof fell in they had knocked the walls down, because it was that freestanding style brick. So whatever wasn’t burned, was crushed. But towards the end of that, it was one of the biggest fires in Moore County, so towards the end of that though, before the business burned down, they were selling bedroom sets. Used furniture, you typically get antiques, and you need mattresses to go with it. So he started selling lower end products, and so when the business burned down he wanted to do something different. There was only one little operation in town at the time, so we opened a small Simmons only mattress store with about 14 beds on the floor in 2002.
Rob Stott: Okay.
Keith Moneymaker: So, we progressed from that to where we are today.
Rob Stott: I always love asking this, especially the generational businesses, obviously run across so many of them here, did you have an option with retail?
Keith Moneymaker: I had an option, yeah.
Rob Stott: Some do, some don’t. Even the ones that don’t, that didn’t have an option, they find themselves back in the business.
Keith Moneymaker: It was pretty straightforward; I think it was silly not to take that opportunity. 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. 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 don’t think it matters. I think your kids will follow in those steps a lot of times if you naturally practice those respectable business habits, and kids will look up to want to do that. Maybe in their own way, it might not be your own business, but I guarantee if you start them early enough in a sense of not forcing them to do anything, it just naturally happened. It naturally happened for me.
Rob Stott: Was there a moment that you realized, do you remember that aha, or was it gradual?
Keith Moneymaker: I always wondered why I liked selling mattresses, and it was never mattresses, it was 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. So if they’re going to trust me to buy a $3000 white rectangle, that’s some serious trust building aspects.
Rob Stott: Absolutely.
Keith Moneymaker: Then eventually I loved the mattresses too.
Rob Stott: Well, one of the things I think that stands out about you guys, and of course it’s the give-back stuff that we’re going to get into, but before we do that, anyone that knows you and follows you, you have quite the social media presence. They might have thought I was about to, I could have gone with quite the beard, but the beard’s just part of the social media presence it feels like. Can you get it all? I think it’s all in frame. I love it, it’s part of you, it’s one of those things. But the social media presence, talk about what it’s been like getting involved in that way and doing the things that you do on social media to promote the business and what you guys are doing.
Keith Moneymaker: So, it’s a lot, it’s a lot to have your phone in your pocket, so you have to know how to use your phone as a tool and to have notifications turned off and to have auto reply set and to have timers and limitations. Your phone can be your worst enemy or your best friend, depending on how you set it up. It’s set up for success, it’s made to be easy, but it’s set up for success. You can get rid of all the apps in the home screen, and now they create an app library. You can’t delete that. So you really have to be conscious, and I’m guilty of it all the time, being on my phone too much. But it brings in the social media aspect, it’s a balance, because I have my personal, I have Facebook and Instagram, and on each of those I have Dreams 4 All Foundation, I have Sweet Dreams Mattresses and More, and I have a personal one, and I have a TikTok and I have a YouTube and I have a LinkedIn.
Rob Stott: Hold on, your phone and my phone must look a lot alike. We’re recording on it, that’s why.
Keith Moneymaker: I have zero notifications turned on for all this stuff. So I don’t have notifications turned on, that’s a big important thing for me. Setting things up with auto replies is a big thing for me. But as far as posting, I’ll get into kicks, I’ve had a social media person before, but I’ve been successful I think because people can trust the face on the screen. So we’ve often considered rebranding, I have another shirt I brought with me, rebranding with a caricature of me. Think of Fred’s Beds or Mattress Max, things like that. Think of the plumber down the street. A lot of these services, a lot of these industries, we have names like LG and these companies here, there’s no bigger companies, but if you think of smaller companies a lot of the service oriented places, car dealerships, tie their name to it.
Rob Stott: Oh, absolutely.
Keith Moneymaker: That builds a lot of trust when you do that. So whether it’s their name or a face to go with the generic name, it’s tough. So it’s tough to have a balance of all that. I don’t really have a secret sauce, except for balancing-
Rob Stott: You know what it is? You’re genuine. I think that’s what it is, right?
Keith Moneymaker: I can be a complete goofball, I have no shame on some of the stuff I post.
Rob Stott: It’s everything from workout TikTok and reels to what you’re doing in the community to give back.
Keith Moneymaker: So, you’re a real person. I’m a dad, I’m a father of three, I have to balance my life, I have to work out.
Rob Stott: I’m pretty sure I’ve seen you in an adult diaper jumping on a mattress. Is that a thing?
Keith Moneymaker: You saw me in an adult diaper jumping on a mattress, so you sure did.
Rob Stott: There is no shame.
Keith Moneymaker: No limits. My dad’s like, “You need to take that down.” I’m like, “No, that’s 7500 views on that reel, dude, I’m not taking that down.”
Rob Stott: That’s incredible, that’s awesome.
Keith Moneymaker: That was part two, wait until part three.
Rob Stott: Oh, no.
Keith Moneymaker: That diaper was from Amazon, it said large, it was not.
Rob Stott: That’s incredible.
Keith Moneymaker: I had to use packing tape to keep that on.
Rob Stott: I can imagine. That’s so awesome. But that’s the thing though, right? I think you said it and it’s funny, because we meet here after I had an NLA at one of our educational classes, and one of the things we talked about in there is the idea of being genuine in your social media, and putting a face to your business. Because obviously it’s getting eyeballs and views, but from just a reputation standpoint, it’s humanizing you and making you someone that’s approachable from the customer’s perspective. When they come in, they recognize you.
Keith Moneymaker: As we grow our businesses and stuff, people want that one on one connection. That’s why they’re not buying it online and they’re coming into your store. So yes, I do believe having a great website, web front is important. But we transact zero on our website, we drive people to come in the store, and it’s probably the reason that I get personally bombarded from messages all the time. I got a text message, “Hey, Keith, are you at the store today? I need to come get a queen bed for my daughter.” That’s a daily thing, man.
Rob Stott: That’s pretty cool.
Keith Moneymaker: It’s a daily thing. It’s not a bad problem to have. I could probably just go through my phone and find somebody I want to sell a mattress to and probably remember our last conversation and probably gear towards that. People trust me to do it, they don’t question it. So I try to really direct my marketing as knowledgeable and trusting in that, also talk about my staff and put my staff … You want people that work for you on your website, people want to see people that can be held accountable, but also that they can trust and build a relationship with.
So talking about my staff, taking care of your staff, not just money, it’s not just money, even though they say it’s not money, it’s knowing what your staff, what their obsessions are and what their goals are outside of your work, even if they’re not going to work for you in a couple years. You have to know what makes them tick.
Rob Stott: It’s cool, because it’s a culture thing is what it boils down to. But it’s also just caring for your team, right? You’re caring for the people around you, you’re building a great team which then builds that great culture and environment in your store. Of course, when you have that culture, it permeates to the rest of what you do, and then the customer experience, so getting back to that. But we could talk, I feel like we could talk forever, we’ve talked for a while already, but I want to get to the big thing here. You guys are doing some awesome stuff on the giveback side and that Dreams 4 All Foundation. So I don’t want to steal, you’ve been doing this for six years, so be the conduit. Something like that? It’s been a while, right?
Keith Moneymaker: It’s been a long time.
Rob Stott: Tell us about Dreams 4 All and what you guys are doing.
Keith Moneymaker: So simply put, it’s pretty simple actually, it’s just doing the right thing by the businesses that we run. Again, like I said, if you want a community to support your business, what are you doing to support your community? 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. What dignity do you have if you came out of a homeless situation and 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.
So stuff like that, people coming in, just even when I wasn’t 100% serious in the business early on, people coming in and like, “Oh, I’ve got a $500 budget for a king set for their kids.” They’ve got kids and stuff, and man, that really hits you as a salesperson. So I would have nice used beds in the back all the time, this is pre-charity, this just happened randomly. I was like, “I’ve got a nice bed.” I’d offer like, “Hey, do you want a used nice bed?” They’re like, “Well, how much?” I’m like, “Nothing, you can have it.” Everything just changed.
You do that more and more and you have that power, even though it’s just a mattress, it is just that, it is just a mattress. The third basic need is sleep, where do you think our body recovers? Water, food and sleep. Where do you think we sleep? We sleep on a mattress. People don’t have beds to sleep on, thousands upon thousands of people don’t have beds to sleep on. So in our industry, every mattress store in this room right now, I bet you 95% of them, when they pick up a bed, if they are doing the delivery service they are taking the old mattress back. I bet you most of those are going to say, “Yeah, we throw it in the trash or we take it to the dump, or we put it on the side of the building.”
Or there are a few that I’ve met, I’m very impressed, they have a cool little program where they’ll give it to a local church or they’ll call somebody. There’s a few that will sanitize them and sell them. There’s a few that will trash them, there’s a few that recycle, there’s a few that don’t do their own deliveries. There’s a wide variety. What we all have in common is we’re all touching that used bed. All I did was do something about it. So Hurricane Matthew hit Lumberton about six, seven years ago, and my buddy took a video driving around 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.
Rob Stott: Yeah.
Keith Moneymaker: I was like, “Man, I get used beds back all the time. This is the time.” 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.” Man, the power of saying, it’s the power of that, I think about that …
Rob Stott: I see them on you, it’s happening to me too. That’s pretty cool, man. That is awesome.
Keith Moneymaker: So, the power to do that, that early on, we just took beds. We had the trucks, we’re already touching the beds, all we did was provide a mattress I was already getting. It cost me zero dollars, it cost us zero dollars.
Rob Stott: But all the good equity that raises, what that does.
Keith Moneymaker: Then I started noticing and really paying attention to other things. Fire departments will come in to shop for mattresses with a really low budget. Most people say, “Well, that’s the government should fund them.” Most people would point their finger too. Why don’t you not point your finger and do something about it? So I do something about it, and my doing something about it was I got some of the manufacturers to pitch in, or I had a local business help me cover some costs, and we started providing fire departments mattresses. Brand new mattresses, and that was another big thing we did.
Then it was just homeless shelters, and soon after that my mentor Mike, I was like, “Man, I’ve got this Dreams 4 All, I want to make this a charity. Dreams 4 All, period.” Because no one should sleep on the floor, period. That simple, we’ve got the power to do it as an industry, 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 our asses. Sorry.
Rob Stott: No, you’re good.
Keith Moneymaker: Got our heads out of our asses and did the right thing, quit being lazy about it, do something for other people. There’s a lot of admirable dealers and stuff in the room, but there’s always a chance that we can do more and do better.
Rob Stott: No, I love it. The passion, passion clearly comes through in what you’re doing, man. It gets me fired up.
Keith Moneymaker: When I started Dreams, when it came to fruition, Dreams 4 All, we made it a nonprofit in 2017, it just became so obvious that this is what I’m going to be doing. So I closed my second store last year, I don’t really care to have another store, I make a great living with our one store and my family. I have no reason to have another store. There’s nothing wrong with making money, but I feel there’s a certain point, now that I’m doing well enough and have been doing fine, that I can do a lot to give back tenfold.
So we were just, just to fast-forward a little bit, we were just the recipient of a 90 tractor trailer $15-million dollar product donation from a large internet brand that amped up our giving tenfold. We’ve been able to give 100 beds here, 100 beds there, to orphanages, camps, recovery homes. Dude, all over the place. Again, this is something that any dealer could do, so I’ve been really mind boggled over this concept that why aren’t we? Because it’s tough, it’s tough, it’s a lot of logistics involved.
So I’ve figured it out, I’ve got a marketing plan, I have branding, we have a playbook, we have digital assets, we have training videos that I want to offer this as something I can give to a dealer at no cost. I want to give you everything, it’s a teacher manifesto, I want to give you everything to give back to your community and Dreams 4 All, and you partner and you can take the credit, I show you how to talk about it, and not self-boosting, but you talk to your customer. Imagine the customer shopping around, it sets you apart. You talk to your sales team about it, the customer feels it, the delivery team talks about it, the customer feels it.
Rob Stott: How about this too, you as a business, you’re doing that, the customer obviously knows coming to that their purchasing a mattress from you is making a difference, not just in their own home and buying a new mattress, but that used mattress is going somewhere and not being thrown away. So not only for your own business as the retailer doing this, but you’re putting your customer in a position where they can give back, whether they realize it or not.
Keith Moneymaker: The customer’s doing it. It just creates this beautiful circle. The customer supports your business, you give a mattress back to a local family, the customer feels good, the salesperson feels good, the store feels good. You keep the mattress out of a landfill, it’s the right thing to do. It doesn’t cost you hardly anything to do it.
Rob Stott: That’s awesome, man. The cool thing, having a podcast means we’ve got a description at the bottom here, a video version of this obviously on YouTube, and we’ll have all the links for that right where we can include all that. Dealers watching this, click on them, get the resources. I don’t know if you’ve got QR codes or anything like that, we can always throw one of those on here and make it happen, so that they know where to go. But if you want to tell them, where can they go to learn more about this?
Keith Moneymaker: So, to learn more about operation, my most proud thing is our website right now, Dreams4All.org. You can go on there and we literally set a dealer up to request a mattress, a local charity agency gets a private referral link, and if my local dealer in that state, they get that link to give to this customer, and that referral goes on our website. We’ve probably got 30 referral charities right now, and I just want to keep growing, because I want to make sure that not only every charity doesn’t have to buy mattresses, there are people that are coming out of those situations have mattresses. So Dreams4All.org. I can talk about this all day, but Dreams4All.org and then you can find out pretty much everything about me on Instagram, Keith.Moneymaker, or my Facebook, Keith Moneymaker.
Rob Stott: Or just follow Nationwide, we’ve been sharing his stuff all week. He’s there, you’ll find him.
Keith Moneymaker: I’m easy to find.
Rob Stott: A hard man to miss, both in person and on social, man. We appreciate it. This was a lot of fun chatting. I love your passion, I love everything you’re doing for this industry.
Keith Moneymaker: Thank you. It gets you fired up, man.
Rob Stott: Hell, yeah. I love it, man.
Keith Moneymaker: We just signed two more dealers that are going to be bringing on Dreams 4 All, and they’re Nationwide members.
Rob Stott: There we go. All right, things are happening. Be a part of the movement and move.
Keith Moneymaker: Be a part of the movement and do something for your community that’s bigger than yourself.
Rob Stott: I love it. Keith, this was awesome, man. Appreciate it. Enjoy the rest of Primetime and thanks for coming on.
Keith Moneymaker: Appreciate it. Thank you.