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Huntington mattress company helps catch zzzzz's

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By CYNTHIA McCLOUD
For The State Journal

Ronnie Rowe lies down on the job.

As owner of Imperial Bedding in Huntington, he's often testing products in his own bedroom.

"I change my mattresses quite regularly," Rowe said. "Especially products that I want to explore their quality and durability. I want to punish myself into using whatever I think needs to be proven."

Imperial Bedding has a proven history of quality since Rowe and his mother, Evelyn Cochran, started it in 1969. Cochran, the principal owner, died in 2002 and Rowe is now a partner in the business with his sister's six children.

Imperial provides bedding for The Greenbrier luxury resort in White Sulphur Springs. So far, Imperial has supplied 75-80 sets to the hotel and will eventually outfit all the rooms as older bedding is retired.

"We've gotten some great guest comments on them," said Al Lierman, vice president of retail, spa and purchasing at The Greenbrier. "We chose them for two reasons. One is quality. We think they're really great beds. And two, we really like to keep our business as close to home as we can. 

"We're thrilled that they're an in-state vendor that we can rely on for a quality product."

That product is Imperial's Model 780 TemperCoil. 

"The TemperCoil is our product, and no one else makes it," Rowe said. "There are eight turns in this coil. It's so delicate and allows your body to go down deep in it. 

"If you couple that up with memory gel, you might think ‘Well, I'll be sleeping in a hammock.' But there are 910 coils in a queen size, and that means all these delicate coils and memory gel will kind of soak you up in it and give you absolutely amazing support while removing pressure points. It's an amazing product."

Rowe explained how Imperial has a truly one-of-a-kind coil in its mattresses.

"We make this with a 15-gauge wire coil that's 10 inches tall," he said. "I bought the machine that makes the coil. No one else has this particular machine in the country. 

"I developed a coil particular to Imperial Bedding Co. That's why nobody else can do this."

Imperial also manufactures another product that's exclusive to the company.

"We offer a Matrix innerspring and no one else makes it in the world. We make a 520-coil Matrix unit that we put in this new unit, the 650G Comfort Collection gel mattress.

 "Those are seemingly the hottest things on the planet Earth today."

Imperial also has sold memory foam mattresses since they were introduced into the bedding industry 10 or 15 years ago, Rowe said.

"The sales hype and story about gel is that it sleeps cooler," Rowe said. "Viscoelastic is the technical name for memory foam. It is a product marketed to relieve pressure. Memory gel sort of gives up and lets your body sort of float in the depth of it."

Rowe said Imperial offers a complete line of mattresses with a simple construction of foam on the bottom and memory gel on top, as well as some quilted mattresses with innersprings inside.

"One of our best-selling is a $1,600 queen, and it has just been barnstorming now," he said. "They're so popular." 

There is one other thing that sets Imperial apart from other bedding makers.

"We still have two-sided bedding, which is the most desired of all the bedding," Rowe said. "Two-sided that you're able to turn over is the most desirable product for two or three simple reasons. 

"It will last twice as long as a no-flip mattress; you can sleep on one side for a year or two and turn it over and two years down the road you got a brand-new side to sleep on."

And Imperial still sells beds on box springs. 

"The industry has gone away from selling on box springs to zero deflection foundations that have no features, no benefits," Rowe said. "You could lay your mattress out on the road and it would be as much benefit as the zero deflection foundation."

Another product line is called Almost Heaven, after the song John Denver popularized, and fitting because Imperial's products are made entirely in West Virginia by West Virginia employees. 

Imperial employs about 65 workers.

Furniture dealers sell Imperial bedding in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina and South Carolina. Imperial also ships online orders throughout the contiguous United States.