Last week my friend Sammy posted a tongue-in-cheek joke on his Facebook page: “I think we need another mattress store in Mayfield Heights.” So I had to laugh when my dad picked me up from the airport, and when we got off the freeway the first thing I saw was a new mattress store on Mayfield Road.
Today I took a drive down to the Buffet House (which I was disappointed to learn was closed, even though from Mayfield Road it looked like it was decorated for Christmas, which is strange, like, “Have a Merry Christmas…as if that’s even possible now without our ridiculously affordable Kung Pao chicken!”)
While I drove down Mayfield Road I spotted five more mattress stores, all within a quarter-mile stretch, bringing the grand total of mattress stores in Mayfield Heights (population 18,974) to six mattress stores that I know of, plus Walmart and Fish Furniture, which makes eight total stores in which you can buy a mattress in Mayfield Heights. (If anyone has a scientific study of Mayfield Road mattress store clusters they can send me to clarify these data points, I would appreciate it.)
While the sheer volume of mattress stores in Mayfield Heights no doubt guarantees great deals for customers, I fear that my hometown may be encroaching upon peak mattress, the point upon which the supply of mattresses arcs perilously upwards and then crashes back down to earth.
We’ve seen it before in Mayfield Heights.
In the 1980s Mayfield achieved peak hamburger before fading back to a more natural ratio of humans-to-meat-patties.
In the 1990s Mayfield experienced peak pizza. It was, I can tell you, a glorious time to be a fat teenager.
The 2000s have born witness to peak drug store, peak sub shop and now peak mattress.
If one were to drive through Mayfield Heights today without ever talking to the people, one might deduce, “Here is a group of suburbanites who really like eating meatball subs, taking Nyquil and hitting the sack.”
What does it all mean?
Mattress stores would not locate on Mayfield Road unless there was a demand. Residents in Mayfield Heights are older (42.9), on average, than Ohio residents (39.3). And almost half of the city’s residents are married, which is a key factor. If you’ve ever shared a bed with a spouse, you know that a large bed in which comfortable sleep can be had is the main key to avoiding divorce.
Also, most mattress stores deliver, so being near I-271 is no doubt a large advantage in the eyes of mattress sellers delivering mattresses to other communities. In fact, it’s probably the real reason there are so many mattress stores in Mayfield Heights—great freeway access to the eastside, and it’s not far from Lake and Geauga Counties.
What I’m saying is that Mayfield may be a sleepy community, but it’s not eight-mattress-stores sleepy.
It’s wonderful to be home for Christmas. Even though Mayfield Road is insane during the shopping season and the stores are often nuts and when it snows everything turns slushy gray, this city is still home, because unlike the boom-and-bust pizza and mattress industries, the supply of wonderful people in Mayfield remains constant.
It’s good to be back.
Merry Christmas, all.
UPDATE 1: My friend Andrew offers this theory: “Other fads come and go, but sleeping has remained popular for decades. I think I read somewhere that most people spend 95% of their lives either sleeping or dragging their old mattresses to their tree lawns. It’s the perfect business. The other five percent is spent working and eating submarine sandwiches.” Strong take, Andrew.
And now Reddit is chiming in. Here are some of the responses, which are pretty great:
– Bedford has autos…we get the Mayfield Mattress Mile!
– Author writes about mattress shops… what about sub shops? There are sooo freaking many.
Author’s Note: I mention sub shops!
– I’ve noticed this ever since moving to Mayfield. If you expand a little more and just go for sandwiches you can also add the gyro place, 5 guys, McD’s and Burger King to the list. And there are 2 subways if you count the one in Walmart.
– It’s unreal. They just opened ANOTHER at the corner of Lander and Mayfield. I bet it’s money laundering for the Russian and Italian mobs. There can’t be enough people buying mattresses to make these all profitable ventures.
– Yeah WTF is with the Mattress Firm Opening up DOWN THE STREET from ANOTHER MATTRESS FIRM!? The one by the highway was a Remodel! And they are literally across the street AND Next to TWO other Mattress stores, its unreal.
– We live nearby and were just having this conversation on Wednesday. Couple that with the one near Piada on Cedar and we live in the middle of Mattress Universe. And they all look super shady, too. I like that they’re all basically named “A Really Awesome Mattress Store For Real Guys.”
– I think part of it is the combination of colleges, others in higher ed, and new staff at the Clinic and UH. They’ll buy new or a larger mattress more often than someone older who is more stable and move households less.
– But really? How many mattresses does the average person buy in a lifetime? Maybe three?
– Hank Scorpio: There’s Hammocks-R-Us, that’s on third too. You got Put-Your-Butt-There.
Hank Scorpio: That’s on third. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot… Matter of fact, they’re all in the same complex; it’s the hammock complex on third.
Homer: Oh, the hammock district!
Hank Scorpio: That’s right.
Anyone else have a theory?
UPDATE 2: I found some intel that could explain Mayfield’s mattress store explosion.
Joe Donatelli is the author of Full Griswold: Stories from a Honeymoon in Italy.