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Spring Air brand to re-launch globally

Longtime executive Ed Bates behind effortRick Robinson
David Perry — Furniture Today, June 1, 2009

Rick Robinson”David Perry Executive editor”

Bates said the company has acquired ownership of the Spring Air mattress brand worldwide and expects production and marketing of Spring Air-brand mattresses to continue through a new licensee distribution network.

The new company will be headquartered in the Boston area and will open its offices June 19, he said. Under previous ownership, the former Spring Air Co. had closed its nine U.S. plants abruptly on May 5.

Bates, who after the May 5 shutdown reacquired and reopened the Chelsea, Mass., Spring Air factory that he had sold in 2007, has purchased the global rights to Spring Air’s brands and other intellectual property through Spring Air International LLC.

He said he also has begun organizing former company licensees and other U.S. mattress producers into what he is calling a “new kind of licensing entity,” which will be headed by 24-year bedding industry veteran Robinson. Other key company executives will be announced in the coming weeks.

The re-launch of the Spring Air brand includes its flagship Back Supporter and Chattam & Wells lines, the rights to which were purchased by Spring Air International, and Nature’s Rest, which was purchased by a separate entity of which Bates is also a principal.

“This is about the power of the entrepreneurial spirit during difficult times,” Bates said. “You don’t have to be Bill Gates or Warren Buffett to create a success story or to rebuild the American Dream. I feel energized because we’ll be putting hundreds of loyal, hardworking people back to work while enabling a great American mattress brand to live on.”

The new Spring Air U.S. distribution network currently includes Spring Air independent licensees in Cameron, S.C., Grand Rapids, Mich., and Greensboro, N.C. – factories that remained in business despite the corporate plant closures. The network also includes former company-owned facilities in Boston, Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio, which have reopened and are now operating as independent licensees.

Bates said expects to add several U.S. mattress producers based in other regions of the country to provide coast-to-coast distribution of Spring Air. Negotiations are under way and announcements should be made shortly, he said.

Spring Air International also includes two established licensees in Canada representing four factories: Restwell Mattress in Vancouver and Spring Air Sommex, with manufacturing facilities in Quebec, Toronto and Winnipeg. Seven established Spring Air licensees in Australia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Ireland, Korea and Mexico also will be part of the new Spring Air International, Bates said.

Robinson, who will be president of Spring Air International, was the senior vice president of marketing for Consolidated Bedding, the former Spring Air corporate entity, from 2005 to 2006. For eight years before that, he was president of Nature’s Rest Marketing LLC, which was later sold to Consolidated Bedding.

Since 2007, Robinson has been chief marketing officer for A.H. Beard, a 110-year-old Sydney, Australia-based mattress producer of U.S. brands including King Koil, Restonic and Eclipse.

In his earliest years in the industry, Robinson spent 13 years in senior corporate sales and marketing posts with Serta and Restonic.

“I have the highest confidence in Rick’s ability to execute the vision we have for Spring Air International and our licensees,” said Bates. “He’s uniquely qualified to lead our company and to build our team of talented, passionate marketing professionals.”

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