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From Home Furnishing Business

King Koil to Phase Out U.S. Licensees, Shift to Manufacturing Platform

Mattress producer King Koil, which has been a licensing organization for much of its 120-year history, is transforming to a manufacturing business model and plans to produce and sell its own products through a dedicated corporate sales force.

King Koil officials said the new business model will be phased in over the next several years as existing U.S. licensing agreements expire.

The company already is planning to open one factory to service southwestern and Western states later this year, and has reached a new agreement with Connecticut-based Blue Bell Mattress, which had been its largest licensee.

Under the new partnership with Blue Bell, the company will make and distribute King Koil products in the Midwest and Northeast at its two factories in Connecticut and a recently-acquired factory in Roseville, Mich.

“With the continuing shakeup underway on the retail side of the bedding business and the sorting out of manufacturing and retail alliances, the licensing model just isn’t as effective as it once was,” said King Koil CEO David Binke. “Under the new changes, we will build on the great 120-year-old King Koil brand and assure our products continue to be made to our exacting standards throughout the U.S.”

In a licensing model, licensees operate as independent businesses, and product specifications sometimes differ among licensees of the same brand. With a manufacturing model, products are made with the same specifications at either company-owned factories or factories working under contract with the corporate office.

Binke said King Koil is in the process of building an experienced sales team and adding to its corporate staff. Personnel announcements will be made over the next several weeks, he said.

King Koil’s other U.S. licensees are in California, Florida, Texas and South Carolina.

Binke said King Koil will continue to use licensees for its products sold outside the U.S., developing new opportunities, resources and services for its international licensees.

Over the years, the company has developed strong international licensing relationships with leaders in their respective regions. Those partnerships have helped build King Koil’s international presence into a successful powerhouse, he said.

The company currently has 30 licensees covering more than 90 countries.

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