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Hickory Springs Finds Niche In Home Health Category   

There’s a new focus on health in the bedding and mattress industry—and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon. 

From adjustable bases to built-in Bluetooth sleep monitors that can track your heart rate and alert you to any potential issues, there are several mattress companies making an investment in the health category.

The pandemic has certainly had a part to play, as people who spent more time at home realized they weren’t getting a good night’s sleep. They bought new mattresses because they paid more attention to what they needed—which is not just exercise or a diet, but a good night’s sleep.

Hickory Springs got in on the trend early with the launch of its Parks Health Products sector five years ago. The division of Hickory Springs offers what they call the “perfect-height adjustable bed.” 

The “perfect height” system is a high-low adjustable bed that rises up a full 10 inches higher than a normal bed and lowers so you can have your feet above your head, which improves blood flow. 

“There are only nine buttons on the remote, and it is very easy to use,” says Company Vice President Tim Witherell. “The buttons are big and they’re backlit because we’re looking at a demographic that isn’t going to be able to see well at night or know how to use high-tech remotes.”

The flagship Kalmia mattress program includes plush and firm, all-foam products, cooling gels, and more. But the big difference, according to Witherell, is that these beds have reinforced rails on the sides, so when you sit on the edge of the bed you get more structure and support. 

“Ours are above average for the industry and we’re making them with stiffer rails because we want people to know that we know they’re going to be getting in and out of this bed a lot.”

The company doesn’t claim this is a hospital bed, but they do market it as a more comfortable alternative. “We say that it can be used in a home setting and it’s not going to be nearly the cost of what a full-on hospital bed is,” Witherell explains. “Some of those beds are now $20,000.” 

The price of Parks beds compared to hospital beds is another major advantage. A twin XL mattress runs dealers around $500, and the adjustable bases are around $1,500. 

And with more and more baby boomers getting older and wanting to stay home rather than go to a hospital, there’s a big market for Hickory Springs.

“What’s happening is that people are moving to cottages and townhouses at a younger age, in their late 60s or early 70s, as opposed to moving out in their 80s and going into kind of their final area that they’re going to live in. The other thing that happened, unfortunately, was that in some of the states large populations in nursing homes and retirement facilities got COVID and died. And you saw as a reaction to that andnow people don’t want to go into nursing homes and retirement facilities. They want to stay closer to their families.”

But how can Witherell be sure? Because Parks’ business is on track to double this year. They’ve already sold more in the six fiscal months of this year than they did all of last year.

He says the beds have also been used by families that have loved ones that are physically handicapped. If they want to have them as part of the family down in the den or something like that and they can’t get out of the hospital bed, Parks beds solve that issue. 

“It’s strange how these little niches have kind of popped up, but what’s interesting about it is they’re sizable,” Witherell says. “It’s a sizable community. And I’ll be honest, out of all the customers we’ve dealt with, these are the ones that I think are the most meaningful. You have a young family member and the parents are taking care of them, and they pick them up and move them around every single day, and now they’re able to be a part of their family downstairs in a comfortable setting. 

It’s great to cater to people who are not catered to but also to just find unique niches that people aren’t in,” Witherell says. “That’s kind of like a sign of a creative business.”

And Hickory Springs plans to keep that creativity up with new products like a durable, water-resistant mattress cover and other accessories.

“We’re trying to cater the beds to look like a piece of furniture in the house and be a little bit nicer than a true hospital bed,” Witherell says. “Year over year growth is going to be 100%, and it’s continuing to grow.”

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