Maplewood Resident Opens Millburn Mattress Store Featuring All-Natural Products

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From The Ethical Mattress Co.:

Bryan Umiker, a Maplewood resident for over twenty years and veteran of the bedding industry, has opened a specialty sleep store called The Ethical Mattress Co.  The store features mattresses, pillows and bedding made from certified organic and natural materials.

“Every mattress we sell is exceptionally well-made from natural materials like cotton, wool and natural latex, and they’re all made locally, right here in New Jersey,” Umiker said.  The Ethical Mattress Co features beds from Shifman, a manufacturer of two-sided luxury mattresses handmade in Newark, and also the Natural Dreams brand, a competitively priced line of Greenguard certified mattresses made in North Brunswick that Umiker says is comparable to brands like Avocado and Naturepedic.

“Most people don’t realize the vast majority of mattresses in the marketplace are made predominantly from petroleum-based foams and petro-chemicals,” Umiker said.  “But not in our store. The mattresses we offer provide a natural and toxin-free sleep surface for everyone, from crib mattresses on up to twin, full, queen and king – a healthy sleep experience for the whole family.”

Located on Millburn Avenue, the store features thirteen mattresses and a selection of pillows, toppers, protectors and sheets.  There’s a nursery and youth section with a whimsical starry-night wall, a six-foot-wide living moss wall and a dozen green plants to help keep the air healthy, and lots of artwork featuring natural environments like cotton fields and forest canopies.  On one end is a nine-foot-high lightbox showcasing the moon rising over the ocean, while on the opposite end one sees the store’s mission statement: ‘Changing the world one mattress at a time’.   

Prior to opening The Ethical Mattress Co, Umiker spent most of his career at Bloomingdale’s, first as a Buyer and later as the VP/DMM of Furniture and Mattresses.  He also spent time working for Bed Bath & Beyond and most recently as a VP for Casper.  “Opening this store brings me back to my roots,” Umiker said. “I began my career working for a small, boutique retailer in New York City, and now I’m excited to bring this special and unique store to my neighbors.”

As Umiker set out to open his first store, he laid out five core principles for the venture.  First, he would only sell exceptionally well-made mattresses.  “In my career I’ve seen most of the famous brands relentlessly sacrifice product quality in search of profits.  That’s why my store sells Shifman mattresses, because of their absolute commitment to quality.”  Second, Umiker decided he would only sell products made from natural and sustainably sourced materials.  “Healthy sleep is so important for each of us, along with diet and exercise it’s one of the three pillars for a healthy lifestyle.  Given the choice to have a toxin-free sleep surface made from certified natural materials, who wouldn’t want that for themselves and their loved ones?”

Third, Umiker vowed he would never take a customer’s old mattress to a landfill and would instead make sure it gets recycled.  “We have a mattress-landfill crisis in this country, with over 18 million mattresses going to landfills every year.  Now that I have my own store, I can do something about that.” According to Umiker, depending on the type of mattress construction, upwards of 80% of the materials can be recycled into something useful.

The fourth principle Umiker set forward was to offer his customers everyday-low prices.  “All these mattress retailers play silly games with high-low pricing, where they set an artificially high ‘regular’ price and then offer a huge phony ‘discount’ off of the price that wasn’t real in the first place,” Umiker said. “The department stores and national chain stores are the worst.  50% off?!  It’s clearly fake, and most people see through that. I want to be honest and transparent with my customers, after all, these are my neighbors.”

Umiker’s final principle concerned the store itself. “I wanted to create a unique and special sleep boutique, very different from the chain mattress and furniture stores.  An inviting, warm and cozy setting, without the ridiculous high-pressure sales tactics one finds in most mattress stores.”

A long-time Maplewood resident and active member of the community, Umiker is known by some for his work with Kate Schmidt at the South Orange Rec Department to found the youth SOMA Flag Football League in 2016.  He and his wife, April Heeren, have been active parents in the school district as their two children progressed from Clinton to SOMS to Columbia.  His daughter is now in college, while his son is a senior at CHS.  

“I would have loved to have located my store in MapSo, but there just wasn’t a space available that would work, and Millburn is right next door,” Umiker said.  The 2,200 square foot store is open seven days a week, and also has an e-commerce website,, where customers can make purchases.  “We have our own parking lot right next to the store, so customers don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot.” 

The Ethical Mattress Co provides free white-glove delivery for all mattresses delivered in New Jersey and will haul away your old mattress for free and make sure it gets recycled.  For deliveries outside of New Jersey, they will partner with third-party companies to provide delivery, and they also offer a small number of “bed-in-a-box” styles that can ship anywhere in the USA via UPS.  

“Opening this store has been a dream of mine since I started out in retail, and I’m so excited to be doing it here, right next door to our community.  With the things we’re doing – selling natural and sustainable products, making sure our customers’ old mattresses get recycled – well, I know we’re just one little store, but it’s a start. Like our mission statement says, together we can change the world, one mattress at a time.”


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