Local dignitaries, community leaders and employees of Kingsdown Inc. gathered Friday at the company’s Oakwood plant in Mebane, North Carolina, to celebrate 110 years in the mattress-manufacturing business.
“Kingsdown remains the only home-grown, home-bred industry we have left,” said Mebane Mayor Glendel Stephenson, who, along with North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, proclaimed Sept. 12, 2014, as “Kingsdown Day.”
“I have served on the (Kingsdown) board for more than 20 years,” Stephenson said. “I’ve seen some tough times. I’ve seen some good times. But the best of Kingsdown is still to come.”
The mayor noted that other stalwart businesses in Mebane closed their doors during hard times, but not Kingsdown.
“Mebane is grateful for all Kingsdown means to us. What I see are hundreds of homes, thousands of automobiles and thousands of children through the auspices and payroll of this company,” he said. “It’s not just making mattresses. It’s taking care of people.”
Frank Hood, Kingsdown president and chief executive officer, attributed the company’s success to “the hard work of every employee we’ve had over the last 110 years, along with the product innovation that has marked Kingsdown’s rich history and the commitment from our trusted customers.”
Hood stood before a “history wall” which documented the company’s progression—from its early days as The Mebane Bedding Co., when corn husks were among the products used in the manufacturing process, to a technology innovator that now produces “a mattress that links to an iPad and tells you how well you slept last night.”
That would be Kingsdown’s Sleep Smart mattress, a patented product featuring a combination of components, technology and automated sensors designed to measure and adjust to movement during sleep.
“We are not just selling a bed. We are selling how you feel the next morning and the next morning for the rest of your life,” Hood said. “It’s one of the most remarkable beds out there. That, coming from a 110-year-old company in Mebane, North Carolina.”
Joe Schmoeller, executive vice president and the company’s chief operating officer, referred to Kingsdown as “the little engine that could.”
“Although our products can be found in Japan, Australia, China, England, Germany, Italy, Dubai—even Russia—we remain tied to our North Carolina roots,” Schmoeller said.