Things Look Brighter for Carolina Rustica

For Richard Sexton, president and CEO of furniture and home decor merchant Carolina Rustica, his company’s business was outpacing its infrastructure and operational capabilities for the past three or four years.

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Multichannel Merchant
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Now that Mattress USA acquired Carolina Rustica last month for an undisclosed sum, Sexton said today his company can focus on what it does best: front-end marketing.

Sexton admitted that his company has struggled with the administrative tasks of a business like purchasing and operational issues, and became aware of Mattress USA because both shared SLI Systems as a technology provider. Sexton wanted Carolina Rustica ready to attempt the progression from a small to medium-sized company.

“All of that kind of came together in this deal,” Sexton said. “Our options were going through a gigantic process or look at partnering with someone to help us with our infrastructure, operations, and administrative issues.”

Sexton said his company will add about 8,000 square feet of retail space to its Carolina Rustica’s Gibson Mill location by the end of the year. Sexton said that at least 80% of his 12-year-old company’s business is online and total sales range between $8 million to $10 million.

From what he’s seen in the past month, Sexton is excited about the future.

“They (Mattress USA) have been great partners,” Sexton said. “There are synergies between the furniture and mattress side, and they have a furniture component as well.”

Joe Nashif, president and CEO of Mattress USA said in a press release that adding Carolina Rustica is “perfect” because of its brand name recognition in high-end furniture and lighting, and its similar business model of running a brick and mortar retail operation in tandem with a very active website.

As a result of the deal, Carolina Rustica and Mattress USA will represent over 200 manufacturers in mattresses, furniture, lighting, bedding and accessories.

Customer lists are among “the biggest upsides for us,” Sexton said. “We now have the ability to cross-market to our different customers to each of our businesses. It is more streamlining our company to let us focus on the front end.”

Sexton said there wasn’t any employee turnover involved in the deal, and his company’s administrative employees shifted their focus to sales.

Based in Brighton, MI, Mattress USA is the parent company of, and PartySuppliesDelivered. has more than 250,000 customers and employs over 40 people in three locations across central Michigan.

Jim Tierney ( is a senior writer for Multichannel Merchant. You can connect with him on Twitter (TierneyMCM) and LinkedIn, or call him at 203-358-4265.