Larry Kraft, president and CEO of Romulus-based Serta Restokraft Mattress Co. Inc., hasn't been sleeping on the job. He has seen more than one recession since he took over the company his grandfather founded in 1913, and he's learned how to respond to downturns.
Kraft has leveraged the brand-name recognition and scale available to his company as a licensee of Serta Inc. with the flexibility and more personal nature of the family-owned company to vault revenue 46 percent since 2008.
One of the last, if not the last, mass producers of major mattresses in Michigan, the company came through the recession virtually unaffected. The company employs 120 people who produce a range of mattresses based on construction and price point. Though machinery is used for some functions, the mattresses are all assembled by hand.
Kraft is grateful for the distance his company already has traveled and decided that the best way to show his gratitude was by giving back to the community that has supported Serta Restokraft for 100 years.
First he and his wife, Jackie, made a donation to Kids Kicking Cancer, a nonprofit organization that teaches children with cancer to manage the pain and stress of their disease and treatment through the martial arts. And then, to raise additional awareness about the organization, he invited the children to demonstrate their martial arts skills at the party he hosted to celebrate the company’s centennial year on July 21. The children spent the rest of the day at a martial arts-themed event put on by the Disney organization.