GRAND RAPIDS — Nearly every guest who spends the night at a hotel room in downtown Grand Rapids sleeps on the same mattress.
That’s because Lady Americana Midwest, a Grand Rapids-based mattress manufacturer, has outfitted many of the hotels in the downtown area over the last few years.
“If there are 1,500 rooms downtown, we probably do 1,400 of them right now,” Tim Westrate, sales manager at Lady Americana, told MiBiz.
One of the city’s newest hospitality developments, the AC Marriott Hotel Downtown Grand Rapids opened its doors last month at 50 Monroe Ave. NW. Each of its 130 guest rooms includes a custom mattress made locally by Lady Americana.
The hotel is managed by AHC+ Hospitality, formerly the Amway Hotel Corp., which also manages the Amway Grand Plaza, JW Marriott, Downtown Courtyard by Marriott and the Hyatt Hotel Grand Rapids Downtown, opening this fall. All of them feature Lady Americana mattresses.
“We have trusted Lady Americana to provide our mattresses and bedding solutions for nearly four decades,” George Aquino, vice president and managing director for AHC+ Hospitality, said in a statement.
The partnership between the two companies began in the late 1970s, not long after Amway Corp. acquired and restored the historic Pantlind Hotel.
Since then, Lady Americana has become recognized as a leader in hospitality sleep sets thanks to recommendations among industry players and the rising power of internet reviewers.
“When you look at hotel reviews, the bed, the sleep is really something that people are reviewing,” Westrate said.
While most hotel mattress reviews “fall off very rapidly” after a few years, Lady Americana mattresses continue to impress guests for much longer, he said.
“We monitor (online reviews) constantly with all of our hotel clients and we’re getting phenomenal guest-bed reviews well into the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth year,” Westrate said.
Crafted by hand
Westrate credits the durability of the company’s mattresses to quality upholstery foams and design elements unique to hotel use. For example, the “continuous coil innerspring” in each product is built to “sense” the weight difference between two sleepers and distribute the pressure equally.
“Once that weight is supported properly because of the unique ability (of the mattress) to transfer weight, two things happen: That guest sleeps a whole lot better and the durability of that spring system went way up,” Westrate said.
The company also has engineered a patented steel-encased perimeter side-support system built to withstand people sitting on the edge of the mattress in lieu of ample seating.
Each month, Lady Americana fields calls from people who slept better on one of the company’s mattresses at a hotel or resort than they do at home, Westrate said.
“The list is long of properties all over the state that buy our beds and people sleep in them, they love them, and they track us down,” he said. “They tear the bed apart to find out who made that bed.”
Lady Americana mattresses are available for individual sale at a few select retail locations in the Midwest through the company’s retail arm, Jonathan Stevens Mattress Co.
Since 1945, Jonathan Stevens Mattress Co. has been building each mattress by hand from Grand Rapids, and the manufacturing process has remained much the same. For example, the fabric mattress covers are woven onsite using a quilting machine.
“They’re all handcrafted,” Westrate said. “There’s no assembly line. At our place, we build them all one at a time to the specifications required.”
Lady Americana and Jonathan Stevens are both privately-held companies. While Westrate declined to disclose annual revenues, he said the company’s staff of 25 employees produces more than 12,000 sets per year from the 20,000-square-foot factory on 36th Street, about 7 miles from downtown.
In addition to hotels in Grand Rapids, Lady Americana works with other regional and national properties like Boyne USA Resorts in northern Michigan, Montana and Maine; The Henry Hotel Marriott in Dearborn; and Hotel Santa Fe in New Mexico. As well, several boutique properties — such as Huron House in Oscoda, Hotel Saugatuck, and City Flats in Holland, Grand Rapids, and soon, Port Huron — all use the company’s mattresses.
Based on the continued expansion of the Grand Rapids hotel market, Lady Americana may find brisk business locally in the years to come.
Since 2016, developers have added 902 rooms in Kent County, according to data from Experience Grand Rapids, which projects more than 1,300 additional rooms will come online across the county in the next couple of years.
“That decision to stay local has a lot to do with trucking and freight issues,” Westrate said. “We can handle any business with the proper lead time to produce this quality of a product for these hotels, but our focus remains within the 500-mile range of our plant.”
By concentrating on the region, the company is well-positioned for continued growth amid the local hotel boom pushing into the foreseeable future.
“We’re watching for every press release for new construction and anything that has to do with new hotels being built,” Westrate said. “And we’ve got a lot of repeat customers.”
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