Denver Mattress + Lippert Components, Inc. Tour
Most RVs come with a standard issue mattress - a mattress that will more likely than not greet the new day with every single joint in your body aching. Seriously. I'm not exaggerating here. The manufacturer's goal is to keep costs down and to cater to those RV owners who only take their rig out a few times a year.
Jeremy and I had slept on our mattress for just a few weeks before we realized we wouldn't be able to make it long on the road without a decent night's sleep. Granted, this is more nights than your average RVer will sleep on a mattress all year, but it wasn't going to hold up to long-term daily use. We started doing research into some modest alternatives we could order and swap into the Velma the Viper. While in in Southern Illinois, we considered reaching out to the Sterling Mattress Factory to see if they could create a custom mattress to fit our short queen platform. It would stretch our budget beyond our plan, but we both felt it was worth it. Before we could pull the trigger, though, the patron saints of full-time RVing had other plans.
You see, the Snowmads* - Kristin and Jason Snow, to be exact - were hosting a giveaway from the Denver Mattress RV Collection and the winner would receive a FREE mattress! Not just any mattress, either. A Denver Mattress Eurotop Memory Foam mattress by Lippert Components, Inc.
All that the Snowmads wanted from us in exchange for entering the giveaway was to know why we were looking for a new RV mattress. Cue Jeremy and his sordid history with mattress transportation - and because this honest-to-God true story is really his - I'll quote our entry to the giveaway:
"I think we should win this mattress for two reasons. First, it only took one night in the new rig to know our relationship would be in jeopardy if we kept the factory mattress. Like Kristin and Jason, we suffer from the dreaded “Forced Cuddling” associated with the slowly evolving mattress crater. Second, my wife says I suffer from a little known disorder whose symptoms include a terrible history of losing a mattress on the highway during transport from the store. I swear the tie downs were tight, but they had no chance against Tennessee foothill crosswinds. Dragging a mattress across a freeway frogger-style is no way to spend time on the full-timer road. That delicious mattress burrito delivered directly to our door will no doubt save the lives of many innocent bystanders should I be forced to shop in-store for my next mattress purchase. Save a marriage. Save lives. Choose us!”
We were thrilled to learn that the Snowmads loved our story and that in a matter of weeks, a luxurious, perfectly-sized mattress wrapped up like a gigantic burrito of dreams would be arriving on our doorstep.
From box to bedframe, it only took us about 10 minutes to swap out our mattresses and dress it up in our bedsheets. One person, albeit a strong one (hollaaa Kristin!), could probably even do it themselves. The mattress burrito was wrapped up tightly enough to fit through our Viper's front door and around the refrigerator corner into our bedroom with ease.
The next step in our journey took us back to Elkhart, IN for some updates to our rig completed by the fine team at NeXus RV. As fate would have it, we were able to connect with Katie Carpenter and Jaycee Galarno of Lippert Components for a tour of Plant 50 in Goshen.
Lippert, a leading producer of recreational vehicle and manufactured housing components, was founded in 1956 and grew quickly. Denver Mattress RV Collection, the line that our mattress is produced under, partnered with Lippert in 2013.
With over three million square feet of manufacturing space, Lippert is able to produce in great numbers. Average daily production rates at Lippert for some of their products include 9,000+ windows, 2,500+ slide-outs, 2,000+ mattresses and 450+ awnings!
Plant 50 manufactures several motorhome components. We saw sofas and mattresses at different points of manufacturing on our tour.
Jeremy and I couldn't help but nerd out a bit, each of us over an aspect of Lippert that relates to what we've studied and/or worked on at some point.
I was most excited to learn about Lippert's focus on social responsibility. Each plant's employees get involved in different ways in their communities - hosting charity golf tournaments, building homes with Habitat for Humanity or serving a meal where proceeds are donated to a community agency in need. You can learn more about their efforts on their blog, here.
Jeremy enjoyed talking with Jaycee about the people resources at Lippert. Her team does a fantastic job of taking care of their employees, and through several change management efforts continue to reduce turnover in their manufacturing roles. Many of the specialized positions like woodworking, for example, have average tenures well above industry and national standards. Jaycee also showed us the updated employee lounges and lunch rooms, our favorite of which is a deck inside the manufacturing space that overlooks the acres of products being created. It really gives you perspective on how quickly the RV industry is growing and on the hard working people that are making this happen in the Elkhart area and beyond.
We enjoyed learning more about Lippert and the variety of products they manufacture. Thanks, Katie + Jaycee, for opening your doors to us!
We're now well over a month of living with and sleeping on our new mattress and can happily say that not only do we wake up with zero crinks in our necks, we both manage to be able to stay on our respective sides of the bed, with nary a crater in the mattress to be seen.
Now, if only we could do something about the 30 lb Boston Terrier who refuses to sleep anywhere but with us on said mattress, and who manages to take up 2/3rds of the bed!
*We started following the Snowmads' life on the road soon after we got serious about transitioning from sticks & bricks to "vagabonding." They've been on the road for over two years now, are kindred spirits in several ways, and at one point even owned an RV - a Trek - that made it into our final round of decisions. We highly recommend you give them a follow. Their post with photos from Denali National Park and tips on how to make the best of your visit is an excellent place to start.