By Katie Henry – My story is different from the traditional 9-to-5 office jobs. Some days, my job involves ripping up tile in our newly purchased commercial building, other days, learning about the intricacies of foam…
Although I found my passion, my path wasn’t conventional or one that even I envisioned for myself. It all started in 1998 when my parents purchased a Verlo Mattress franchise. As entrepreneurs, my parents had experience running several small businesses, but the thought of a mattress store was new. After years of hard work our family became experts in the business of sleep. Now, our Verlo Mattress franchise has expanded to three locations, and we’ve been helping residents to get their best sleep for over 19 years.
In our small town of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, running a business means knowing everyone – and everyone knowing you. I grew up as “The Mattress Girl” – but I never envisioned a future in which I would keep, and even come to appreciate, that nickname. Today, I am the General Manager of our family’s three Verlo locations – and I wouldn’t change a thing.
I grew up as “The Mattress Girl” – but I never envisioned a future in which I would keep, and even come to appreciate, that nickname.
Four years ago, after working in the beauty industry for several years, I found myself living back in my hometown. I spent time helping around the store, learning about the company and products, and eventually – to my surprise – falling in love with our family-run mattress business. I immediately took a position in sales, but I soon discovered my passion for managing the business and taking on the responsibilities that drive our company forward.
Early in my career with Verlo, other Verlo franchisees would refer to me as “John’s daughter.” They assumed I didn’t know about the business. But as they have interacted with me at Verlo Annual Meetings as well as in day-to-day situations, I have been able to show them that in addition to being John’s daughter, I am also a valuable member of our Verlo team. I bring a different perspective and a new enthusiasm to our organization. I enjoy learning about the products as well as implementing new technology.
Early in my career with Verlo, other Verlo franchisees would refer to me as “John’s daughter.” They assumed I didn’t know about the business.
A few years ago, I was the first to volunteer our stores to be involved in the test phase of a new ERP and CRM (enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management) system being implemented by our franchisor. I knew that if we were early adopters we would have the best opportunity to provide valuable feedback and input to assist the franchisor in adapting the system to the needs of both the store owners and the customers.
While it can be intimidating, I’ve found that my most rewarding career moments have come from taking the biggest risks. In addition to the ERP and CRM system implementation, we were the first franchise to invest in the completely revamped retail store concept. For years, my family and I had dreamed of moving our Beaver Dam store from its original location to a prime location in the heart of the retail area. That dream became a reality for us in 2016 when we purchased a 24,000-square-foot former Staples office supply store. I was very involved in every aspect of the new store remodeling and took a hands-on role. I spent countless 12-16 hour days with my father and brother removing floor tiles, scrubbing and polishing the concrete floors, laying the new flooring, ordering display and lighting fixtures, assembling the display fixtures . . . the list goes on and on. We were very hands on, doing as much of the work as we could do ourselves.
At 28 years old, I have learned a great deal in the past four years about hard work, dedication, taking risks, and pulling my chair up to the table. Running a business means taking on a new challenge every day, and working in the business of sleep is especially dynamic. The sleep industry is undergoing an immense transformation right now, from sleep monitors and technology to a mattress-in-a-box, we are constantly evolving and taking risks to exceed the expectations of our guests. The future is bright and I hope to continue to grow our business for many years to come.
Katie’s Single Best Expert Tip On Buying A Mattress…
“There are many aspects to purchasing a new mattress, but for me, the most important is service. Finding someone who will provide exceptional service for the lifetime of your mattress is the key to selecting the perfect mattress for you.” – Katie Henry, General Manager, Verlo Mattress of Beaver Dam, WI
Special thanks to Katie Henry for contributing her voice to WYSKy Business, one of our newest editorial sections. It features personal stories authored by badass professional women (all fields) and intrepid entrepreneurs with the themes of taking risks, being bold, pulling your own seat up to the table, and the “you can’t make this sh*t up” moments that come with the territory. If you have a WYSKy Business story to share, we want to know. Email our editorial team with your submission.