How was your franchise/opportunity originally conceived and started?
In 1958, two guys started making mattresses for their furniture store in Illinois. The mattresses were a bigger hit than the furniture, and soon became the focus of their business. Later, when they incorporated in Wisconsin, they renamed their mattress company by combining the first names of their wives.
What was your original vision for your company? How has that changed over time?
The original vision was for Verlo to be the custom-maker of mattresses allowing each customer a unique experience to author the specifics for their bed. Although a lot has changed since 1958, four things have remained constant:
- We still make mattresses one at a time in our own local factories.
- Our mattresses are still sold exclusively in our own stores.
- People still love our mattresses. Truly, owners of Verlo mattresses are usually lifelong customers.
- Verlo is still called Verlo. (Because, quite frankly, if we combined the names of our current owners’ wives, we’d wind up with something just as weird, like Suemela or Melsan.
What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a franchise?
Understand the lifestyle (both short and long-term) that you are striving for and then try to match the vision with a business that can allow for the desired outcomes.
Why should someone choose your franchise over other similar franchises?
Every Verlo mattress is made in our local factories and sold exclusively in our showrooms. All our mattresses are adjustable, and made to address different sleep needs. We back each mattress with an industry-leading Lifetime Comfort Guarantee. Verlo also has a mattress shopping experience unlike any other – an elevated customer experience that was designed to make shopping as comfortable as the mattresses – with the goal of having guests feel a sense of “ahhh” when in a Verlo store.
What makes your industry attractive?
In 2016, mattress industry sales topped $16.5 billion and are expected to grow 5-6% over the next five years, as consumers continue to respond to the message that a better bed affects your overall health and well-being. This allows them to justify their purchase as not only an affordable indulgence, but a necessary one.
What types of qualities do you look for in potential franchisees?
At the core, Verlo is an organization with integrity and Midwestern values. Our owners are active in the community and understand the health and wellness benefits that come with a good night of sleep.
What do your franchise fees and royalties cover?
A Franchise fee covers the costs to put you into our business model. Items such as location selection, lease negotiation assistance, site build-out assistance, access to our suppliers, assistance with employee recruitment and training, business start-up, grand opening and franchise development support are included. Royalties are a remittance of the business’ gross sales to cover a portion of the franchisor’s investments in the operations system, support, research and development and infrastructure.
How do territories work for your franchisees?
A franchise agreement grants the right to open and operate a store in a specific location.
Why has your franchise model been successful?
Over the past 59 years, Verlo has always made a commitment to put the customer first. From the moment a new customer walks into a showroom, they are provided a unique, personalized shopping experience, predicated on their personal sleep needs. The ongoing support continues with a warranty for the locally made product, a lifetime comfort guarantee and comfort adjustments that allow customers to build relationships with the local store comfort coaches. The attention to detail targeting the customer has built the foundation for our future.
Where do you see your franchise in 5 years and 10 years?
In 5 years Verlo will be further developed with an even stronger regional presence in the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard regions. From there, Verlo is committed to a national development campaign. With the recent acquisition by Marcus Investments, the business is structured for aggressive strategic development moving forward.
What is your favorite advice for new franchisees to help them succeed?
Become the face of the business in your local market. If you go out for breakfast with your family on a Saturday morning, you want to have a customer from another table approach you to thank you for changing their sleep experience.
What would you tell potential franchisees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a franchise?
Verlo is committed to a mutual discovery process that will allow you to make a well-informed decision on whether or not your financial burdens can be addressed during the business start-up. We are a fairly conservative company, so we only award to candidates that have performed the necessary due diligence to be fully confident in the start-up program.
Can you explain your financial assistance?
Working with third parties, many of the financing programs focus on the new franchisee’s ability to cover both personal and business expenses through monthly debt service payments. It’s a lot like buying a home or car. Most people don’t pay cash upfront, but instead have a monthly loan payment they are comfortable committing to and then work from there.
On average, how long does it take to start a new franchise from the franchisees point of view?
Site selection can take up to six months. Once determined, a new franchise owner can be fully functional in up to eight weeks.
What was your background and experience before founding this franchise?
Although not the founders, Marcus Investments (the new owners of Verlo) is a Midwest-based investment firm formed by the Marcus family to acquire, steward and grow the legacies of successful entrepreneurs and families for more than 70 years.