Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on June 5th, 2018
An amazing 119-year-old small business!

Robin McRoskey Azevedo
Robin McRoskey Azevedo
Photo: sfgate.com

This story is of a successful business, one that has survived wars, depressions, earthquakes and intense competition, San Francisco based McRoskey Mattress Company.

It is a family firm owned by Robin McRoskey Azevedo, granddaughter of a co-founder, and it is a little 30-person business that will touch your heart.

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From its 1899 founding, the two McRoskey brothers decided not to do what was commonly done then as now, build cheaper, lower quality products.

Instead they built top quality, state of the art mattresses. But at first many people bought cheaper mattresses elsewhere.

Then the 1906 San Francisco earthquake hit, leveling most of the city. However, one building left standing was the McRoskey’s.

As people began rebuilding their homes, they needed new mattresses, and McRoskey prospered.

And it prospers today by reputation. What does that mean? “Craftsmanship, [top quality] materials and customer focus,” replied marketing manager Kaytea Petro.

A worker assembling a box spring at the McRoskey Mattress Co. facility in San Francisco
A worker assembling a box spring at the McRoskey Mattress Co. facility in San Francisco
Photo: wsj.com

“All the mattresses, box springs, and foundations are made by us, at our San Francisco factory,” she added, meaning strict quality control.

McRoskey’s products are so popular, that they are built to customer order, with a backlog of two-four weeks, something most businesses would envy.

But that’s not all. McRoskey is also a good corporate citizen.

Employees are paid well enough, including benefits, that the average length of employment is 17-years.

What about environmental sensitivity? “This company recycles mattresses in compliance with [strict] California Law,” replied Kaytea, as McRoskey works closely with a local recycling firm.

This is how McRoskey Mattress Company remains a 119-year-old success story. If you would like to take a two-minute factory tour, please click here.

Editor's Note: To learn more, visit https://mcroskey.com/. I first learned of McRoskey from a 2001 PBS episode of “California’s Gold,” hosted by Huell Howser.

In the next KazanToday: An 81-year-old man who in May graduated from Georgetown University 63-years after he began there.

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