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He Created The “Value Zone” and Mark Quinn

Have you ever wondered about the man who is responsible for Mark Quinn? Wonder no more. In this week’s episode, we host the man, the myth and the legend that is Mr. Nick Quinn.

As with many of us, Nick didn’t start out solely in the mattress industry, but rather indirectly as a retailer for Montgomery Ward. Montgomery Ward sold mattresses (and rocking chairs and carpet, but you’ll have to listen in to hear about those foot traffic driving ideas) and eventually when his other son went to work for Mattress Firm, he joined in to assist in its growth and profitability.

In his early retail days, one industry changing ideas occurred while still at Montgomery Ward. The idea of the “value zone” which relied on verticalizing the mattress merchandise (which was unusual for the time). To increase skus without increasing footprint in the store, Nick increased inventory from three (3) in store mattress to 16 (and sometimes 18) and then challenged his customers to visit the competitor (the up-and-comer wholesaler known as Sam’s Club). Quinn banked on the idea that people liked variety and they liked multiple price points for the same product . His vision paid off and the “value zone” was born and repeated time and time again.

Quinn is now retired and treats everyday like it’s Saturday, except for Sunday. Even being a spectator in our wildly changing industry, he still had nuggets of wisdom to impart and strongly believes the best is still ahead for brick-and-mortar retailers. Our two favorite takeaways:

1. Play your own game. Don’t play someone else’s game. They will always be better at it because it’s theirs. Stay in your lane and do your thing.

2. Worry less about percentage and more about product. As he said so eloquently, “last I checked, dollars paid bills, not percentages.” Businesses get so consumed about the margin in their inventory, they forget the principles which is stocking and having good, quality merchandise on hand. Don’t fear massive quantities of single items. Find a good product and market it effectively and people will come.

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