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Local mattress maker Verlo remains competitive in times of change

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Posted at 11:56 AM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-16 12:56:06-04

MILWAUKEE — With more and more people buying mattresses online these days, a locally based mattress maker is responding by innovating and by sticking with what always has worked.

Verlo, based in Milwaukee with locations across Wisconsin and five other states, still makes mattresses to order. It’s the way the company was founded more than a half century ago.

“One of the biggest surprises we get from our customers is that we actually make the mattresses right here,” said Dirk Stallmann, Verlo executive vice president.

“We make them for their specification, and we don't carry inventory. So they're made to order,” he said.

Purple, Casper and Leesa are just a few of the popular internet retailers spending millions on marketing to sell mattresses online. Verlo now offers a comparable “bed in a box” product called the “Sleepiphany.” It features multiple foam layers that can be configured to different “recipes” for firmness.

“The idea is on a queen size and above, that each side has adjustable layers inside that the users can access and reconfigure to match their comfort,” Stallmann said. The real difference is that customers can come in and try it out before buying.

Verlo factory stores feature a window where customers can watch manufacturing in progress. In fact, Stallmann said some want to see their specific bed get built, and it’s actually pretty easy to arrange.

“You can come to the Greenfield facility and literally look through the window and watch the mattresses being made. We have some customers that actually want to come see their mattress being made,” he said. “We can do that. Absolutely. We love it.”

The intersection of new invention and classic methodology is the sweet spot for legacy companies such as Verlo. Do things differently enough to keep up with trends and changes, yet stand firm on the values of the company’s founding.

Oh, and one more thing on that. There’s a story behind the name, Verlo. Two Illinois furniture makers actually started the brand. When they decided to make a company that exclusively made and sold mattresses, they named the company after their wives: Verna and Lois.