Oak Park residents in search of a new mattress likely will have no problem finding a deal in the coming months, with a second mattress store opening just steps away from the new Sleepy’s on Lake Street near Harlem.
Business leaders say the new shop is better than an empty storefront, but that the business district would be better served by so-called destination shops that attract shoppers from outside the village as well as those who live in Oak Park.
American Mattress put up a sign at its new location at 1142 W. Lake St. within the last week, and Mike LaSpisa, the chain’s director of business development, said the store is expected to be up and running within the next two weeks.
The introduction of the store comes on the heels of the opening of Sleepy’s at 1120 W. Lake St. earlier this summer.
John Hedges, executive director of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation, said in a telephone interview that he has “nothing against mattress stores or American Mattress,” but it is not as good of a fit as a boutique clothing store or restaurant that would bring in business to Oak Park.
“(Mattress stores are) not the kind of traffic builder we’d like to see, but business is business; we don’t get to choose,” Hedges said. “That’s between the owner and the broker and the business coming in, but it wouldn’t be our first choice.”
Some Oak Parkers have speculated that the opening of the mattress stores could be a result of proposed real estate developments in the downtown area that would bring in hundreds of new residents over the next few years.
LaSpisa said the decision to open only a few shops away from Sleepy’s had nothing to do with competition. He noted that American Mattress is locally owned and headquartered in west suburban Addison, while Sleepy’s is a national chain. LaSpisa added that the company’s other stores — one just up the way at North and Harlem avenues — have done well and that the American Mattress is currently expanding.
“I think (American Mattress has) people who look for their locations, and they look at a lot of different factors,” LaSpisa said. “That space (in downtown Oak Park) gives them the best chance to succeed.”
The company currently has 95 stores in Chicagoland and Indiana but has about six to 10 more stores coming online by the end of the year, LaSpisa said.