Store puts first year to bed

By Tyler Vincent

The first thing you will notice about Mattress Warehouse, 1224 E. Lincoln Highway, is the location. It is not the most hospitable location for a young business.

Located on a gravel road almost directly behind Melendez Video in DeKalb, the only indications of the store’s existence are two small temporary signs posted on the ground.

But whatever obstacles the location has presented for the business, they seem to be manageable because last month, Mattress Warehouse celebrated its first anniversary in business.

“Our location is challenging, but the overhead is low,” said store co-owner Mike Kisluk, a 1979 NIU graduate with a degree in English. His wife, Aubrieta Hope also owns the store. “The secret is that as we started the business, we took baby steps. We made sure things were working before we began paying on other things. It surprises people that we are out here at all, but it goes well.”

Inside the 11,000 sq. ft. showroom, a two-sectioned motif emerges with mattresses, futons and bed frames against one brick-layered room and one wood board-framed wall, giving more than a subtle hint of the building’s previous stints as a lumber yard and coal and ice business.

Kisluk said his store holds 11 different types of traditional mattresses and five different types of futons. He adds that the NIU community plays a vital role in his business.

“Northern is very important to us,” Kisluk said. “And not just from a student perspective. We get business from faculty and administration.

“DeKalb offers a unique demographic. We’ll meet people from all over the world because of their connection with the university, but we also get people who are fleeing from the higher populated areas.”

Kisluk originally came up with the idea for the business while selling household goods. Around the Mattress Warehouse facilities lie the mini-storage facilities of DeKalb Distributing.

“I rented a couple of bins, and I used to sell out of there,” Kisluk said. “So I knew people would venture back here. I had a brief stint selling furniture for Carson’s, and I thought we could do this ourselves and open a business.”

Kisluk said that the warehouse’s future will have more emphasis on quality than expansion.

“Part of the American mindset is to expand, expand, expand,” he said. “But we’re trying to keep this a sleep specialty shop and working with people.”