'Mattress Bill' calling it a night
For 16 years, “Mattress Bill” Reid has made a name for himself with his store, Mattress Unlimited Inc., along Atlantic Avenue in Ocean View. But the time has come, he said this week, to move on. The 78-year-old business man, originally from western Baltimore, said he has enjoyed a successful run and couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
“I don’t want to get tied up in a rat race,” he said. “The people have made it a nice venture, really, supporting the business.”
Reid has done his part to connect with his customers, distributing everything from mattresses to furniture and linens. He has often loaned his van to other companies to make their own deliveries, and has even traveled to Dover, Milford, Annapolis and College Park to personally deliver orders to satisfied customers.
“I’m not a pushy guy,” he said, which in turn, has allowed him to establish his friendly clientele. “I work with more and more people, and they, in turn, reference my name out there, and it’s brought me a lot of work.”
It’s not only the customers who have provided Reid with a positive experience in the area. “The landlord here and everyone I’ve worked with have all been great,” he said. “They have really helped a lot.”
The Atlantic Avenue location is Reid’s third since he began the mattress business almost 22 years ago. “Business has been picking up a lot lately,” Reid said. “I just want to retire and get out before the big boom, so to speak.”
Reid is an alumnus of John Hopkins University, where he studied engineering and chemistry. “I’m not sure the connection with beds,” he said with a laugh, “but I gave it a shot, and it took off like poison ivy.”
So what’s next for “Mattress Bill?” Perhaps more work.
“My plans are to probably get a job working two or three days a week,” he said, though his main goal is to relax and take a break from working seven days a week, as he had for the past 12 years.
“I want to get up and smell the roses in the morning,” Reid said, “and if I want to travel, I’d like to be able to do that, too.” The only traveling he had done previously was with his time in the military, which didn’t provide the free range he was looking for in a travel experience. Reid, an avid surf-fisherman, is also looking to spend time along the beach with a rod and reel in his hands, too.
“The opportunity is here for someone who wants a laid-back business,” he said of his mattress empire. Several people interested in the Atlantic Avenue location had stopped by, but nothing has been officially settled.
“I’ll work with anybody who’s interested in moving in,” he said. “It’s still up for grabs, and it’s a really great opportunity for anyone.” He plans to be out before the summer rush hits, though. “There’s no date set right now, but I’m hoping to move on as soon as possible.”
If he had stayed at the location, Reid said he considered converting the store into a motorcycle shop. “There’s not a lot in the area for the bikers out here,” he said. “You have to go all the way over to Ocean City or Rehoboth.”
Reid, a biker himself, enjoys escaping on the road with his 1939 Indian motorcycle. “I ride when I get the chance,” he said. “It’s the only way to go. Get yourself a nice trailer and a tent, and just go until you run out of gas, then keep walking.” Reid has also considered relocating to New Bern, N.C., a vacation spot he has frequented on the past.
Whatever cards he is dealt, Reid is looking forward to beginning something new. “You’re never too old to start over again,” he said. “I’ve stuck with that mentality, and it’s been really great for me.”
For more information about Mattress Unlimited Inc., call (302) 547-1955.