Is a good night’s sleep the greatest luxury of all? The folks at Shifman Mattress Company are convinced of it.
Safavieh has sold a lot of beds over the years, but something was missing: the mattress to fill the fashionable bed frame. When CEO Michael Yaraghi decided to offer customers the convenience of one-stop shopping, he set out to find a manufacturing partner that could produce mattresses worthy of the Safavieh name. The search led him to Shifman Mattress Company of Newark, New Jersey. Says Yaraghi, “Shifman is the very best mattress available that’s locally made.”
Like Safavieh itself, Shifman is a heritage company that’s family owned and family operated. Opened in 1893 by brothers Abraham and Samuel Shifman, the firm operates in a four-story factory in the Ironbound section of Newark. While the mattress industry cranks out mass-produced, machine-made products meant to wear out in a few years, Shifman maintains an uncompromising ethos rooted in 19th-century tradition: Use the finest materials, and craft each mattress to last decades.
Skilled artisans handcraft double-sided mattresses with layers of cotton and natural latex. Double-sided mattresses, which can be flipped, last far longer than onesided mattresses. Shifman box springs, too, are a work of art: Framed with superior-grade Canadian spruce sourced from sustainably managed forests, the box spring contains eight-way hand-tied coils—the same hour-glass-shaped steel upholstery coils found in fine furniture. A queen-size model is secured by hand with Italian twine and approximately 1,600 knots, an unhurried process that takes a few hours. For mattresses and box springs alike, rigorous quality checks are part of the production process, and corners are never cut. Aside from a few equipment upgrades over the years, production is completed in much the same way that it’s been done since the company opened its doors a century and a quarter ago.
“If you can’t get a good night’s sleep, then your bed is going to compromise your health,” says Bill Hawkens, key account manager, who has been with Shifman since 1992. Since we spend a third of our lives in bed, it’s not surprising that scientific research supports the connection between sleep and well-being. “Our bedding helps the customer get a good night’s sleep, night after night, for a very long time,” adds Hawkens, “and that turns out to be a very good value.”
Shifman, which was bought by veteran industry executive and current CEO Mike Hammer in 1985, now manufactures two lines available exclusively at Safavieh. Both collections—Safavieh Mattresses by Shifman and Safavieh Couture Mattresses by Shifman—provide incomparable luxury and comfort.
“We cater to the person who wants the best mattress and box spring he or she can find,” says Mike’s youngest son, Bill, who is the company’s president. “The average mattress factory is about how fast and inexpensively they can make a mattress. We have true craftspeople using a 123-year tradition—always by hand with the best natural materials and taking luxury to the next level. We prefer to make a product that will satisfy our customers for many years. It’s something we’re very proud of.”
If Mike Hammer has learned one thing during his 53 years in the mattress industry, it’s that the greatest luxury of all is a good night’s sleep. That’s why he’s delighted when he hears from satisfied customers who’ve had their mattress for 20, 30 or even 40 years, a byproduct of the quality engrained in Shifman’s product. “With a Shifman mattress, the consumer gets to choose when they want to replace it. They don’t replace it because they have to. That’s what it’s all about for us.”
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