Professor Sheri Bridges says Bed Bug Furniture Name Change was a Wise Move

11.17.2012 Article, Faculty News

Local furniture and accessories store gets name makeover and new location
Reposted from Winston-Salem Journal | by Fran Daniel

After 10 years in business, The Bed Bug furniture and accessories store has changed its name to Comfort with Style Furniture & Mattress.

The store also has a new location. It recently moved to 2551 Peters Creek Parkway from 690 Jonestown Road, where it had been for eight years.

Co-owner Dennis Hawk said it was time for a new store name. Given all the media attention over the past three years about outbreaks of bedbugs, they didn’t want the bad public relations.

“When we first started the name, it was instant name recognition — that cute little saying, ‘Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite,’” Hawk said. “People immediately identified with that name and thought we were a big chain.”

Sheri Bridges, the faculty director of the Center for Retail Innovation and a marketing professor at the Wake Forest University Schools of Business, believes the Hawks made a wise move in giving their store a new name.

“The owners sniffed out the problem with the name and changed it,” Bridges said. “Bedbugs have very much been in the news lately and not in a positive way, so when people hear the word ‘bedbug’ what comes to mind is not the furniture store. It’s the problem in mattresses or in sheets.”

The store started as The Bed Bug in 2002 in Dennis Hawk’s brother-in-laws’ basement. The Hawks borrowed $400 on a credit card to get the business up and running.

The couple had just moved to the Triad from Indiana, where they had run a craft and floral supply business. Initially they sold a lot of children’s furniture.

“When we came to the area, this was like the furniture capital of the world, but we found there wasn’t much to choose from, especially in kids lines,” Dennis Hawk said.

As the business grew, they found a small showroom in Winston-Salem then moved to larger space on Jonestown Road. In September, they moved to their current location, which was most recently Bob King Mitsubishi and before that it was Regan's Furniture Choices.

With 14,000 square feet, the store is about double the size of its previous space. It offers close-out merchandise and items on sale.

“We’ve really expanded our lines,” Hawk said. “We carry a full line of children’s furniture.”

Comfort with Style Furniture & Mattress also sells bedroom furniture for adults, futons and water beds. Its online store carries a lot of components and parts for water beds.
The store has started adding living room and dining room furniture.

“We were missing a lot of market share and we felt that it was time to expand into other areas,” Hawk said.

He said the slow economy has affected his business but he is optimistic that things will turn around.

“I believe if you deliver a good quality product for a fair and reasonable price, you will do well,” he said.

Not all of the store’s furniture is made in the United States, but Hawk said, “Where we can, we do try to incorporate American-made products. All our mattresses are American made. I would say probably 50 to 60 percent of our bedrooms are American made.”