In the market for a new mattress?
Look no further than Bob Manoff’s storage unit business. Yes, a business out of a storage unit. In fact, Mattress Bob (yes, that’s his name) has a collection of 11 Mira Mesa storage units that double as showrooms.
Manoff stays busy thanks to word-of-mouth business or from an ad on Craigslist. Twice a week, he gets a shipment from a Los Angeles mattress maker. He’s got pillow tops, memory foam and organic cotton.
The incentive? Most of Manoff’s mattresses sell from between $100 and $700 depending on the size, so who cares that it isn’t your typical mattress showroom?
“At first, they walk down here and they think they’re going to get mugged maybe,” he said. “It’s no frills, but a very pleasant place to do business.”
It's a creative idea, but is it legal?
Yes, Mattress Bob tells us. His business is licensed with the state's Bureau of Home Furnishings, which regulates mattress stores.
As for working out of a storage unit -- or 11 -- he said he has had complaints over the years. The bottom line, though, he said is that he doesn't have the most top of the line mattresses, but he has comfortable mattresses.
Manoff thought the business would last a couple weeks. Now, it’s been open seven years. If you ask him, a storage unit is the perfect business setting, complete with a beach chair in the sun.
“Sometimes you just got to reinvent yourself and reinvent your business to make it work.”
And his customers (at least the folks we met) don't seem to mind the less-than aesthetically-pleasing setting.
"I drove up and I was wondering what the storage unit aspect of it was," said customer Helen Smoole. "But I'm willing to try something new. Why not to save money?