Two locations to serve you:
Comfort Center Furniture
732 Garfield, Traverse City
Comfort Center Furniture
458 US31 South, Traverse City
The Comfort Center Story
The Comfort Centers were founded in 1974 by brothers Gene and Vern Petrosky. Born and raised in Lake Leelanau, both had moved downstate in the early sixties to seek opportunities for success. They found that opportunity with a man named Eddie Robinson who owned a chain of stores named Star Furniture. Mr. Robinson hired Gene first and after becoming impressed with this young man he asked if he knew of any other hard workers like himself, Gene suggested his brother Vern and he was soon brought onboard. Eddie taught them both the business from the ground up and these two young men from Northern Michigan thrived. They both married and had children and continued to work their way up the ladder at Star Furniture.
But for Vern something was missing, although he was successful at Star Furniture, he wanted to move back home and raise his family in Northern Michigan rather than Detroit. In mid 1974 he made a trip up north to seek a new start, perhaps in the furniture business. Unbeknownst to him Gene was in Lake Leelanau on an unrelated matter, and this led to the chance meeting that would change their lives… and also change the way the people of Northern Michigan buy mattresses and furniture.
After the initial “What are you doing up north?” questions, Vern explained that he was in Traverse City looking for work, perhaps at a furniture store. When Gene asked how his search was going little did they know that Vern’s answer would lead to the birth of “The Comfort Centers “. He explained that not only were there very few furniture stores in the area, but no sleep shops and none that carried Serta Mattresses, the staple brand of Star Furniture.
It just so happened that Gene had just helped one of his nine children with a school project entitled “How to Start a Business. “ So while sitting around the dining table at Mom and Dad’s house sharing bottle of Father Frank’s homemade wine, they talked about the possibility of opening a furniture store that specialized in mattresses. Ideas were floated around; where would it be located? What would it be called? How would they come up with the start up money? While they were tossing around ideas for business names brother Ken happened in and suggested “The Comfort Station” , as a joke,
another idea was “The Bedding Barn” (we’re all glad that idea was dismissed). After much thought, and many other laughable suggestions they decided on “The Comfort Center.”
After finding a suitable building, on U.S. 31 South, 4 miles south of Traverse City (considered the boondocks at the time) and armed with a $5000 loan from Mom, they opened for business. They had a simple philosophy, bring affordable name brand mattresses and furniture to northern Michigan with free delivery and service after the sale. The first store was opened in November 1974.
The first few months were less than successful, due to the out of town location and lack of the public’s knowledge. It was only when they decided to gamble on an aggressive TV advertising campaign that business began to boom. Within two years they were joined by Brother Luke, who opened a store in Grayling. Over the next 10 years the business expanded until there were 10 stores in Northern Michigan, including a second Traverse City location.
Now 36 years later “The Comfort Centers” continue to be the largest chain of furniture and bedding stores in Northern Michigan and Serta Mattresses are now the most popular and recognizable brand of mattresses in Northern Michigan.
Gene, Vern and Luke have all since retired and the 10 stores are now being run by their children, Debbie, Luke Jr., Bill, Jeff and Steve. We are and will remain a locally owned and run family business dedicated to bringing the people of Northern Michigan the best quality furniture and mattresses at the lowest possible prices. We are still here after many other businesses have come and gone, we have weathered the bad times and enjoyed the good times and will continue to serve the people of Northern Michigan until the next generation of Petrosky’s are ready to take over.