SOS furniture liquidator brings wholesale to the public
by Matt Shinall
Jul 25, 2011 | 4781 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sit Or Sleep co-owners Mike Elrod, left, and Mark Roberts, in the store’s main warehouse showroom at 600 South Tennessee St. in Cartersville.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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After 28 years in the wholesale furniture business, Mark Roberts, co-owner of Sit Or Sleep, has opened his first retail location.

His career has spanned the globe from Italy to Brazil and all points in between serving first as a "jobber" coordinating the international production of furniture. Today, with his wholesale operation greatly scaled back, Roberts took the opportunity to open his warehouse doors at 600 S. Tennessee St. in Cartersville.

As a jobber, Roberts sourced furniture parts from different producers to create a finished product used by large U.S. corporations for private label furniture lines. Returning to the states to continue his career, Roberts maintained accounts across the nation dealing in container-direct supplying. When he decided in recent years to lessen the volume of his operations, he found a challenge in filling the two South Tennessee Street buildings now housing SOS.

"Ninety-nine percent of what I did was container-direct by the truckload to furniture wholesalers, manufactures. When I sold out of that, I had these two buildings. I tried for two years to lease these buildings and I couldn't so I said 'nobody does this better than we do, nobody can source better than we do,'" Roberts said. "These buildings carried all my products, prototypes and private label products for the different manufacturers, and producers and wholesalers that I worked with."

By remaining tied to the industry of wholesale furniture, Roberts stocks his local inventory with items priced relative to his cost. Buying trips remain a part of Roberts' job, traveling to bid on entire showrooms as dealers prepare for new collections. By reserving a portion of truckload sales for retail use, SOS maintains wholesale prices at its Cartersville location.

"I still sell to other dealers but what we do where nobody can really beat us, is when I order a truckload headed to a dealership somewhere else, I can have that truck stop here and drop off eight or 10 pieces to us," Roberts said. "You have to have other outlets to move those through and so my wholesale side is capable of doing that. Where we may only bring 10 or 20 of them here because it's a small facility, we move the others and we get them for $150 or $200 less than they would have originally sold for."

The 10,000 square foot of warehouse and showroom, is housed in two buildings, one contains industrial racks of furniture while the other, a 106-year-old storefront originally home to Standard Oil, is now the SOS mattress showroom.

Roberts takes pride in his product and enjoys educating customers in the details of his trade. From this gusto for detail, a lengthy conversation covering eurozone currency trade may ensue from a seemingly simple explanation on the importance of choosing coils made from American steel.

"There's a true reason for the qualities of what we do and why we pick what we pick. Every single mattress, every single sofa out there, there's a reason behind, if not a hundred reasons, behind each one of them," Roberts said.

Sit Or Sleep is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information call 770-383-9890 or visit www.sitorsleep.com.