By Doug Hare EBS Staff
BIG SKY – Bobcat Mattress, a Bozeman-based mattress supply company, opened for business on June 26 on Town Center Avenue, adjacent to Beehive Basin Brewery. Owner Alonzo Antonucci started the company with help from his brother Alden in the spring of 2008 while he was a junior at Montana State University pursuing a degree in global studies. Alden is now the owner of Xtreme Carpet Cleaning and Oba Brazilian Café in Bozeman.
As a college student, Alonzo knew the importance of getting a good night’s rest and how good sleep helped boost productivity the next day. Following a debilitating back injury, he found himself having trouble sleeping, sometimes averaging only three hours of sleep per night. After upgrading his own mattress and noticing the improvements in his sleep schedule and the quality of his shuteye, he began to imagine how he could help other students achieve better rest cycles while bootstrapping his way to becoming a business owner.
The two brothers sold two mattresses out of the back of their truck and the rest of their story is a lesson in disruptive entrepreneurship. Their recognition that a small local business could out-compete national mattress chain stores in Bozeman proved to be prescient in finding a viable business opportunity, even if they were operating out of a construction site trailer with six part-time employees in the beginning.
Alonzo saw a demand for affordable mattresses and comfortable sleep amongst college students at MSU and eventually found a mattress supply company that allowed them to expand their selection and that they still use today.
Alonzo opened his flagship store on Huffine Lane, west of Bozeman, in 2011. “It’s been years in the waiting for us to bring sleep to the Big Sky canyon,” he said.
Bobcat Mattress prides themselves on the quality of their service and the affordability of their products. Currently, Bobcat Mattress offers sixty mattress options along with a large variety of furniture and bedding products. Their selection includes memory foam, organic latex, luxury pocketed coils, and even organic wool mattresses. There will be set showroom hours, but appointments can be made to accommodate shoppers’ schedules.
“We have designed our new showroom to have some of our best-selling products that can be picked up or delivered the same day,” Alonzo said. “We want our services to be convenient for the hard working community…and not have [our customers] spend a whole day or weekend looking for sleep.”
A recent study by a nonprofit foundation focusing on entrepreneurship and education ranked Bozeman 12th nationally for its per capita rate of business startups. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2014 and 2016 Bozeman was the second-fastest growing micropolitan area in the country, compared to other cities with a core urban population of under 50,000 residents. Given the rapid population growth and healthy business ecosystem in the Gallatin Valley, the environment for entrepreneurs to pursue new ventures with innovation, creativity and a little hard work will continue to improve, even for recent college graduates.
With the new store open for business, the company’s slogan: “Your Big Sky dreams start here” is now even more appropriate than ever.