Mayfield Mattress Store Mystery Update

Why are there so many mattress stores in Mayfield Heights? We now have some clues.


A while back I wrote a very important blog post asking why there are so many mattress stores in my hometown of Mayfield Heights, Ohio. Since then some clues have emerged, and I want to give those of you who are deeply invested in this crucial story an update.

Some people commented that they thought the stores might be fronts for organized crime, as Mayfield has been home to some colorful characters in the past. And lo and behold, supporting that theory, a Mayfield mattress store employee recently was charged with embezzling $675,000 from a local retail mattress and bedding company.

While I’m tickled by the idea of a new generation of pezzonovante greenlighting a series of illicit mattress joints, that explanation does not seem plausible. Opening a very public and very visible business concern takes some doing, and the preponderance of such stores draws attention to them. To what? Launder money? Move stolen goods? In this day and age when there is more money to be made by stealing online or through drugs? Does not seem worth it, unless the mafia is less ambitious than it used to be, opting for a more locavore criminal experience.

As it turns out, Mayfield is not the only city in America experiencing an explosion in sleep stores. Houston, Charlotte, Boise, Tucson, New Lenox, Ill., Schererville, Ind. and Chicago, to name a few, are also experiencing a boom.  People are noticing.

“Seriously New Lenox…how many mattress stores do we need?!?!?! There are 5 within 1 mile of one another,” wrote one New Lenox Patch FB commenter. “Can we get some other shops or restaurants please???”

So, what’s with all the mattress stores?

Over at The Straight Dope, Cecil Adams answered a reader question about my favorite business topic of mattress store clusters.

His responses, in a nutshell:

  • The Internet has not disrupted mattress sales. (People still shop for them in person, so brick and mortar stores are viable in a way bookstores are not.)
  • Running a mattress store does not cost much. (Ever been in a mattress store? It’s a big room with some lights and a desk. That’s it. It’s what the Apple store would look like if the Soviets won the Cold War.)
  • Mattress purchases are proof that we are coming out of the recession. (Mattress sales dipped when the economy tanked.)
  • The markup is insane. (Profit margins on a mattress run a whopping 30-60 percent.)

There are other theories floating about as well.

  • We notice mattress stores in a way we don’t notice other stores because their signs are huge.
  • Wave after wave of research has confirmed the importance of sleep for good health, so people are making good sleep a priority.
  • Mattress stores cluster near pedestrian foot and auto traffic, near a Wal-Mart or other large store or row of shops, so it makes sense that so many of them would be located in the same space.

Sorry to spoil everyone’s dream of a Sotto Capo di Serta running card games and stolen minks out of the back of a Mayfield mattress store, but it looks more like some heady entrepreneurs have gone to the mattresses.

Follow @joedonatelli on Twitter and on Facebook


My Oscar Adventure



I didn’t have to go far to have an Oscar adventure today. I was walking Tanner this morning when my German neighbor, a hair and makeup artist, approached me on the sidewalk in a panic.

“I am 10 minutes late to do hair for my Oscar clients, and my car won’t start, and I cannot get the Uber app to work,” she said in on breath.

I had no trouble believing this. She has a classic convertible, and it often takes a while to start in the morning. That car is probably responsible for one-fourth of the smog in the LA area.

“You want a ride?” I asked.

Today is the Super Bowl of the hair and makeup world, and she didn’t hesitate.


I grabbed my keys, scooped a very confused Tanner (um, what about breakfast, dad?) into the car and picked her up. As we sped down Santa Monica I asked who her clients were. She’s working on the folks from Citizenfour, the Edward Snowden documentary. I can’t tell you how happy this made me. She’s also doing hair and makeup for German director Wim Wenders, whose work I must now familiarize myself with. She was very kind and very thankful. As repayment, she offered to cut my hair, which sent both of us into hysterics.

Now, I’m not saying I saved the Oscars today. And I’m not saying that if Citizenfour wins and so many people become aware that their government is acting illegally that we finally elect the right folks to run this country and peace breaks out globally that I have helped save the world today. Let’s leave that for the historians to decide. What I can say is that you don’t get a ton of chances to help your neighbors in LA, because we’re an independent and private lot, and it was nice to give her a hand.

(Tanner survived the trip and got his breakfast and is now resting comfortably on the couch.)


Michael Hiltzik Knows How to Make You Happy, You Clod

Michael Hiltzik says more government control will make you more of an individual and other things that make your brain explode.

hiltzikMichaelIn a world where Thomas Friedman and David Brooks exist, choosing a favorite columnist to mock-read every week should be a two-man race, but we are blessed here in Los Angeles with one of the most predictably predictable columnists in the nation.

America, meet Michael Hiltzik. Or don’t. It’s probably better if you don’t.

I subscribe to the Los Angeles Times. I used to spend a lot of time yelling at Hiltzik columns, but I have decided to harness that energy and focus it like a laser beam of truthy America-loving awesomeness here on this website.

If my retorts seem not-well-thought-out or asinine, it’s because I write this column on short breaks from my work. This is not my full-time job. Saving America is just something I do in my spare time.

Hiltzik’s latest column in its entirety is available here. It’s about how government programs can make a nation happier. Yes, the nation he’s referencing is America. His words in bold. Mine in not-bold.

How much are we willing to pay for the pursuit of happiness?

I dunno. $70. I’m ballparking it.

Never mind the conventional speculation about whether the resolution of some political standoff in Washington favors Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives, “entitlement” fans or skeptics.

Waaaaay ahead of you, Mikey. I pay no mind at all.

Question for you: is anyone actually a “fan” of entitlements? People like entitlements, but no one except wonky media types such as yourself are “fans” of entitlements. We don’t gather as a nation on Saturday mornings to grill hot dogs in a parking lot and get ‘faced and pile 90,000 high into a stadium to cheer on our entitlements. GO HOME MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION! YAY!

Continue reading “Michael Hiltzik Knows How to Make You Happy, You Clod”