End of an Era
Last April 28, I posted about the company’s new marketing strategy under new ownership – a strategy that went against everything the company had ever done, everything its dealers had ever asked it to do and everything it knew how to do well. In short, it was kind of like someone buying a successful used car lot and announcing that you’re going to leverage the location to sell Ferrari’s.
Guess what? It didn’t work, and United failed miserably. They announced dramatic restructuring in January and even brought back John Katerenchuk, a very talented man I’d worked with at United. But I know John well enough to know that he knew he was walking into a dire situation. Even then, I suspect the plan was to keep operations alive until a sale could be made.
A few weeks ago the plants closed, and shortly after that a company down south announced plans to acquire the ashes. DISCLAIMER: I know zilch about
Initial plans make it sound like
United isn’t the first former employer I’ve had to vaporize. In fact, they’re the fifth. However, three of the other four were the victims of simple acquisition and the fourth was a very small start-up company run by one very unscrupulous person. United Sleep Products is the only profitable company I’ve been able to watch commit corporate suicide and while I watched (gratefully) from afar, it wasn’t a pretty sight at all.
However, because the company did employ me for more than five years and because I was the only one who actually gave the company a "voice" during my tenure, I think it only fitting that I write a small obituary. So, if you're so inclined:
Word was received today on the death of United Sleep Products. Though the company had roots dating as far back as the 1950's, the brand was about 14 years old. The cause of death was multiple traumas, including:
Though many are saddened by the loss of USP, its demise - not unlike Lindsay Lohan's - was very public. The company's own website seemed to mark the decline, as each relaunch (2005) somehow seemed to look worse (2006) than the last (2007).
As with any corporate death, thankfully there are survivors. They include former and current employees, some of whom will remain with the factories.