Those looking for a good night’s sleep can find a new place to shop on Shelburne Road. Michael Hassenberg has opened Natural Mattress, expanding on the organic resources he has been offering at his other venture, The Green Life, in downtown Burlington.
Hassenberg is proud to offer mattresses that are free of chemicals. They are made with organic cotton and wool, and many also include natural latex, which comes from the sap of the rubber tree. Hassenberg said people with latex allergies will not have a problem with those mattresses since their symptoms are triggered by a synthetic latex product. He and his ex-wife (who remains his business partner) started their company as a way to provide healthy sleep options for people with chemical sensitivities.
Hassenberg said that in the 1970s, a law was passed requiring all mattresses to have fire retardant to stem the rash of deaths caused by smoking in bed. In most cases that retardant is chemical in nature, but in the bedding sold at Natural Mattress, organic wool serves that function. As a result, all their mattresses are safe as well as comfortable and environmentally friendly. There are a wide variety of options available—some with springs, but the majority without.
Hassenberg’s degree is in hotel and restaurant management, and he previously worked as a financial advisor, but in 2009 he opened The Green Life with his then-wife, Shannon.
“I wanted to try a new venture and be my own boss,” he said. A father of three, Hassenberg had a strong interest in the environment, and Shannon wanted to own a boutique, so they opened what he describes as a “lifestyle store” featuring home décor and organic baby and women’s clothing. The store expanded its inventory to include mattresses, and when those became successful sellers, they decided to open an additional location.
“We have more space and more visibility,” said Hassenberg, “so we’ve been able to add three new mattress lines.”
Natural Mattress is open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm. One of their mattress lines – Heart of Vermont – comes from Barre, and the rest are made elsewhere in the United States with the exception of one line from Quebec. The store also carries bedframes—including ones made in Winooski— organic cotton sheets, and wool pillows. Other lines may be added as people discover the new location.
“It’s going well so far,” said Hassenberg. “It’s still early but people are starting to come in and I think we’re going to be really successful. We had success at the other store and hope that a bigger selection and visibility will help.”