Another retailer leaving 23rd Street to head to south Iowa Street
I don’t know what you think you saw when I got off the elliptical machine, but I wasn’t so woozy that I needed a bed to lie down on. But in case it ever does get to that point, some of you may be in luck. You’ve been asking what new retailer is going next to the Planet Fitness location on south Iowa Street, and I now can report that it is a mattress store.
The folks at Mattress Hub confirmed they are moving their existing store on 23rd Street into space at 25th and Iowa streets. Construction work is underway, and Mattress Hub CEO and founder Ryan Baty hopes to have the location open by early May.
There are a couple of reasons behind the move. One is size. The store’s current location shares a building with Hog Wild Pit BBQ at 1516 W. 23rd St. (In case you are wondering, a memory foam mattress is not the best choice for eating barbecue in bed. You definitely don’t want to remember the aftermath of that.) The current arrangement allows for a show room of only about 3,500 square feet, Baty said. The new location will allow for about a 7,000-square-foot showroom.
“It will mean more product and more options that we can show our customers,” Baty said. “We are big believers that options are a good thing when it comes to something as personal as a mattress.”
But, beyond size, Baty said the changing nature of 23rd Street also played a role in the decision. As we’ve been reporting for a while, the opening of the eastern leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway has created a true bypass option for people who don’t want to drive through town.
“When they did (the SLT), it really diminished the traffic flow for us,” Baty said. “This moves us to a pretty good retail area.”
Baty is excited about the move because he said Lawrence is a very important market for the Wichita-based retailer. If Baty’s name sounds familiar, it might be because he’s a former star with the Jayhawk baseball team. He played baseball at KU from 2000 to 2004, where he racked up all-conference honors as a first baseman and finished near the top of KU’s hits list.
“Lawrence is basically my second home,” Baty said. “I’m up there all the time. I’ll be up there for the basketball game tonight. I want to really put my best foot forward in Lawrence.”
After graduating from KU in 2004, Baty played in the minor league system of the Tampa Bay Rays, before injury ended his baseball career. He said he was working at the Dole Institute of Politics in Lawrence when he met someone who was in the mattress industry. It got him studying the industry, and he determined there was a big opportunity.
That was 11 years ago, and the company now has grown to 12 stores in the region. Baty said the existing Lawrence store was the smallest in the company. The new location will change that and will allow the company to begin carrying several additional brands of mattresses. According to the company’s website, the Mattress Hub carries a range of brands, including Beautyrest, Stearns & Foster, Sealy, Tempur-Pedic, Serta and others.
No word yet on what, if anything, is scheduled to go into Mattress Hub’s existing space on 23rd Street.