Sleep Outfitters is the vision of one woman: Kim Brown Knopf. When she graduated from the University of Kentucky, Louisville-native Kim didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do, but she knew she wanted to make a difference in whatever she undertook. It turned out her future lay in retail, specifically, mattress retailing; and what began with one store in South Charleston, W.Va. in 1983 has grown to over 160 stores in six states.
The difference? Every day, under Kim Knopf’s leadership and guidance, Sleep Outfitters strives to be the best mattress shopping experience near you by providing customers with a sleep solution tailored to their individual needs. That means having the best-trained sales specialists, the best bedding products at the best prices, and the best service in the industry.
Have we realized Kim Knopf’s vision? Only our customers can answer that question. But we know this: We work to be different by delivering an exceptional customer experience, every day in every store. Are you sleeping or sleeping well? We could be the difference. Visit a conveniently located Sleep Outfitters near you today!
"If there is one good thing I can do today, it is to help someone sleep well tonight."
Kim Knopf Bio
In 1983, Kim Knopf responded to a newspaper ad for a salesperson in a bedding shop. The interviewer’s enthusiasm for the prospects of the business sparked her determination to run a shop of her own rather than someone else’s. At the tender age of 23, Kim Knopf plunged headlong into the rough-and-tumble world of free enterprise. Just one year removed from her college days at the University of Kentucky, the young businesswoman put $25,000 on the table and set out to live the American dream.
Kim began by doing research and attending seminars offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Next, she prepared a business plan. The parents of her then boyfriend, now husband, looked at her business plan and let her use a certificate of deposit for collateral to borrow half of the start-up money, and bought 50 percent of the company’s stock to give her the rest that she needed.
Over the next several decades, she grew her company to 160 retail locations. She had two children along the way and went back to work when they were two to three weeks old, taking them to the office with her every day. She maintains a family-friendly atmosphere and views her employees as her second family, taking pride in helping them develop different skill sets and giving them opportunities to grow and succeed.
“I must make sure that the company’s culture is right. I think our employees take pride in and really find a purpose in their jobs and their role in the company’s success.” -Kim Knopf
Kim has won several awards for professional achievement, including being a 1995 finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year, the 1996 GERS “Power User of the Year", a national technology award, and was profiled in Nation’s Business in 1998. In May 2010, iMS was one of only four bedding stores in the USA honored as a Retail Giant of Bedding by Furniture/Today.
She served as director of the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce (1997-1999), director of the Putnam County Rotary Club (1997) and president (1999-2000); she is also a member of the Young President’s Organization, served as communication chair for the 1997-1998 year and as membership chairman.
You can tell a lot about a company by its history.
Less than a year after graduating from the University of Kentucky, insurance agent and Louisville-native Kim Brown Knopf answered an ad looking for people to sell mattresses. Her interest piqued, she began investigating the bedding business. Decisive and entrepreneurial, the 23-year-old chose Charleston, W.Va. as the place to open her own business. She moved there in August 1983 and opened her first store, Mattress Warehouse, in October in nearby South Charleston.
Kim handled all facets of her budding business, from buying merchandise, to advertising and selling it, to finally delivering it. There were days when she wouldn’t see a single customer, but she persevered in the knowledge that hers was the first business of its kind in the state – a specialty sleep shop offering brand name mattresses, on-hand inventory, excellent service and the lowest prices, guaranteed.
Kim continued opening new Mattress Warehouse stores across West Virginia; however, licensing agreements dictated that the name could not be used outside the state. So, when the company wanted to expand into Kentucky in 2002, the Sleep Outfitters brand was born. Over the next two years, a series of acquisitions would double the company’s size. In 2004, the acquisition of Westco Group in Akron, Ohio and Mattress Firm in Louisville, Ky. added 15 stores to the chain, making it 30-stores strong. Now, with stores all over West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama, the Innovative Mattress Solutions (iMS) family of stores is prepared to serve a large regional footprint.
Today, Kim Knopf’s little mattress company is over 160-stores strong and operates in six states (West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Indiana) as Sleep Outfitters, Mattress Warehouse, and Mattress King. Kim’s founding philosophy of providing the best products at the lowest prices continues to drive the company’s success.
1983 – Opened first store, in South Charleston, W.Va.
1986 – Opened corporate office in Winfield, W.Va.
1986 – Built first distribution center, in Winfield, W.Va.
1993 – Invested in GERS computerized retail point of sale system
1995 – Kim selected as finalist for WV Entrepreneur of the Year
1995 – Second distribution center is opened in Bridgeport, W.Va.
1996 – iMS presented GERS Power User of the Year National Technology Award
1997 – 10th store opened, in Ashland, Ky.
1998 – iMS profiled in Nation’s Business magazine
2002 – Sleep Outfitters brand launched
2003 – Acquisition of Mattress Barn in Lexington, Ky.
2004 – Acquisition of Westco Group in Akron, Ohio providing iMS 10 stores in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Louisville, Ky.
2004 – Acquisition of Mattress Firm in Louisville, Ky. (10 more stores)
2004 – Third distribution center is opened, in Lexington, Ky.
2004 – Opened 25th store (Columbus, Ohio) and first Indiana store (Clarksville)
2006 – Fourth and fifth distribution centers opened (Cleveland and Columbus)
2006 – Opened 50th store, in Delaware, Ohio
2008 – Silver Anniversary Celebration – 25 successful years in business
2008 – Opened 75th store, in Louisville, Ky.
2009 – Opened our 85th store
2010 – One of only four bedding stores in the USA honored as a Retail Giant of Bedding by Furniture/Today
2010 – Opened our 90th store
2011 – Acquisition of Mattresses Unlimited in Louisville, Ky. and Nashville, Tenn.
2012 – Acquisition of Mattress King in Alabama
2013 – 30th Year in Business – Opens 150th Store in Louisville, Ky.