“If you can see, feel, sniff, and stretch out on our mattresses, you’ll understand the difference between them and any conventional mattress,” promises Tim Thompson, owner of Mattress4U. “They’re made from cruelty-free Ecowool, certified organic cotton, and 100 percent natural rubber latex. Every mattress is renewable and biodegradable.”

Mattress4U is the largest certified organic mattress dealer in the Great Lakes region, he says. For several years, it was in a warehouse at 416 W. Huron, with appointment-only hours, but when its lease was up in late summer, Thompson decided to relocate to the small strip mall on Carpenter Rd. just north of Packard.

“Our customers are as unique as our mattresses,” Thompson says. “Some have allergies, some are committed to environment-friendly products, some enjoy being at the forefront of new products.”

Thompson has sold mattresses since 1982, when he and other MSU friends sold waterbeds to college students. In 1989, he moved on to a family furniture store in Port Huron. But the market for waterbeds drained away. “I realized we needed to diversify or die. Memory-foam beds came out and quickly improved in quality. But I was concerned about the fact that they were loaded with synthetics, chemicals, toxins, and fire retardants.” So he began researching organic alternatives. Though the storefront is small, Mattress4U stocks fourteen mattresses, from twin to king and from soft to firm. Organic mattresses are manufactured from pure cotton, wool, and rubber. They start at $1,200. The store also sells organic pillows and bedding.

Thompson says his biggest competitors are online. “When someone buys a mattress over the Internet, they have no clue about what they’re buying,” he contends, “whereas our mattresses are completely pure and completely American made.” Thompson’s family owns a second, more conventional mattress store in Greenville. He says the Ann Arbor store attracts customers from “Birmingham, Toledo, Columbus, Fort Wayne, Traverse City, and even Chicago.”

Thompson’s sons handle deliveries–all of which are free, no matter how far away. When the deliveries take them to interesting locations, the Thompsons often make them into family trips.

Mattress4U, 2919 Carpenter Rd., 254-9993. Mon. noon-7 p.m., Thurs. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Tues. & Wed. by appointment. themattress4u.com.