Culture News

Is Tuft & Needle Slowly Taking Over Metro Phoenix?

Tuft & Needle's new Scottsdale store.
Tuft & Needle's new Scottsdale store. Courtesy of Tuft & Needle
Local industry game-changer Tuft & Needle is gobbling up real estate, some of it for use in expanding the mattress king’s retail operations here. Other building purchases remain more mysterious.

The company’s new 3,000-square-foot retail space on North Scottsdale Road opened last week. This new mattress store is only T&N's third location; the Phoenix-based startup is headquartered on Grand Avenue, and has a sales room in San Francisco. Formerly the home of the Dirty Drummer restaurant and bar, the new store was purchased more than a year ago for a little more than $1 million. The neatly renovated space offers four private sales rooms where shoppers can curl up on a T&N mattress, as well as a pair of lounge areas where customers can relax and drink bottled water with employees (one of T&N’s many corporate innovations include a deliberately low-pressure sales staff).

The Scottsdale location will also offer a handful of product lines from local vendors, shelf items that, according to T&N publicist Brooke Medansky, come from “likeminded companies that will give our customers another idea of our brand ethos.” These other ideas can be found in candles from Standard Wax, tea jars from Teaspressa, and sugar cubes from Ruze Cake House.

Founded in 2012 by former Silicon Valley techies J.T. Marino and Daehee Park, Tuft & Needle has quickly grown into a trendsetting national business, with 140 employees and a $100-plus million revenue last year alone. Some of that money has been invested in local businesses and in the larger interests of the startup community here. Its recent purchase of the Quebedeaux Chevrolet building on Grand Avenue is an example of the company’s commitment to promoting Phoenix area small businesses.

It’s unclear what T&N plans to do with the building, located at 750 Grand Avenue and just across the street from its corporate headquarters. The brick structure is better known as “the Paper Heart building” in reference to its most recent tenant, the now-defunct Paper Heart performance space and gallery. The company purchased the historic, 6,000-square-foot building last fall. Built in the early 1960s, the Quebedeaux building was designed by Austrian architect Victor Gruen, better known for his large-scale shopping mall designs. Medansky says the company has no immediate plans for the building. “We just bought it to protect it,” Medansky says. “We have so much invested in this neighborhood, and we wanted to make sure this important old building stayed safe.”

Medansky hesitates to discuss T&N’s plans for future expansion, although signage near Gilbert’s Heritage Development site announces a new T&N mattress store coming soon. This stunning local startup has, after all, to compete with the more than five dozen copycat companies that have sprung up in the past year, offering similar mattress products.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela