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Sleeping tight on a Victoria mattress

[UPDATE] Duane Franklin hopes for a high-five when meeting a customer who sleeps on one of his made-to-order, locally built, environmentally friendly mattresses. He wants to know that “you’re loving your bed.
Fawcett Mattress owners Duane Franklin, left, and Ross Taylor complete a mattress in their Rock Bay area factory. Customers can try out the beds in the showroom next door while watching the manufacturing through a large window.

[UPDATE]  Duane Franklin hopes for a high-five when meeting a customer who sleeps on one of his made-to-order, locally built, environmentally friendly mattresses.

He wants to know that “you’re loving your bed.”

Franklin and Ross Taylor are co-owners of Fawcett Furniture and Mattress, 408 John St., in the Rock Bay area of Victoria.

The business is a combined showroom and manufacturing operation in a 5,000-square-foot building, where it creates work for five people. Large interior glass panes provide a window into how each custom-ordered mattress is put together.

Fawcett’s owners are proud of the materials they use, carefully selecting natural latex and organic cottons that go into their mattresses.

Fawcett is one of more than 12,000 companies in B.C. manufacturing a range of products for local, national and international markets. The province’s manufacturing sector pays $8.6 billion in wages, supporting more than 400,000 jobs. It also accounts for 11.2 per cent of the B.C.’s gross domestic product.

Fawcett is Taylor’s middle name and the name of a great-uncle. The business is a sibling of sorts to nearby Gabriel Ross, a furniture and home decor store owned by Taylor. He is also one of four partners in another furniture store, Chester Fields, 532 Herald St., in Victoria’s Design District.

Franklin and Taylor, both 50, arrived in the capital region as teenagers.

In 1983, Franklin found his career path after being hired by Greggs Furniture and Upholstery, where he was called upon to work on an order of 500 mattresses for Victoria General Hospital. He spent 17 years with that company and was then part of Young and Franklin. He is no longer with that company, which is owned by Reg Young. That firm specializes in new furniture upholstery, reupholstery, and natural latex and foam mattresses. Its main focus is commercial upholstery, Young said.

Taylor was 21 when he had his own upholstery shop on Bridge Street, eventually graduating to Gabriel Ross, which includes the name of a former partner.

Franklin and Taylor are passionate about creating mattresses made locally, using products with a low carbon footprint. They use natural latex, New Zealand Joma wool and organic cotton.

“This unique combination is breathable, temperature regulating and naturally fire-retardant and dust mite resistant,” the partners said.

Prices range from about $1,000 to $3,500.

The latex foam originates from rubber tapped by individuals working on plots of land in Asia. Rubber is shipped to the U.S. to go through what is called the Talalay process, part of which flash freezes the foam in a mold. This method eliminates any variations in consistency.

Franklin crouches next to a cross-section of a mattress to point out its layers and materials. The certified organic cotton ticking has a high thread count is “wonderfully breathable.”

The Joma wool is installed at two ounces per square foot, making it very thick, he said.

Wool quilted to organic cotton helps regulate temperatures. “It’s going to stay warm in the winter and cool in summer.”

Mattresses can be made with a different firmness on each side to suit customers.

Every mattress is delivered in an organic cotton bag.

“We are also a little bit nutty about being careful that we transport only new product in our delivery vehicles,” said Franklin. This is to ensure that nothing from an old mattress, such as dust mites or fleas, transfers onto a new product.

Fawcett will pay a customer’s recycling fee and can help arrange delivery to a recycling facility, Taylor said.

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