What do Mick Jagger, the late John F. Kennedy Jr., and Marla Maples have in common?
All of them bought mattresses from Long’s Bedding on the Upper West Side. The mattress store, spanning four generations, specializes in furniture and bedding and has pictures of customer celebrities from Bette Midler to Mike Tyson plastered all over the walls.
Although former owner Bob Long gave up ownership to his daughter Terri three years ago, he and his wife Judie, a saleswoman at the store, are still an integral staple of the business and the neighborhood.
“The best thing is when someone said they bought a bed 10 years ago and now they’re back to get another one,” said Bob.
Although Long’s Bedding only advertises sporadically, the Longs say they have more than enough business because of word of mouth — and they’ve had some of the same customers for more than 50 years.
Long’s Bedding has been making people comfortable since 1911, after Bob’s grandfather Max Long immigrated from Poland. Max’s son Harry redirected the business towards retail and eventually bought out his father and brother, passing the business on to Bob.
While bedding and New York were in the family blood for Bob, it was all new to Bob’s number one partner — Judie. She grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, but left it all behind after she met Bob at the University of Wisconsin. She said she knew right away at freshman orientation the first day of college that he was the one for her.
“He was standing there and I walked in and he said, ‘God it’s hot in here,’ and I said, ‘Yes it is,’ and he said, ‘Let’s go outside,” said Judie.
At the store in New York, Judie had worked her way up from bookkeeper to sales person. She’s now in charge of the business website. But she said she places the most focus on customer service.
“I always remember a face,” she said. And she said that focus on customer service is true for the entire sales staff, who are not paid on commission, specifically so they can make decisions that are in the customer’s best interest.
But though Judie always remembers a face, the faces running the other neighborhood businesses have changed drastically over the last 54 years. Bob said more and more his family business is becoming an anomaly on the street.
“It’s changed tremendously,” said Bob. “The ones that I know the best are — you can walk down there and see that — the people at the Tip Top Shoe Store. They’re very nice people — that’s a third-generation family business too. There used to be a lot of stores like that on this street, but now there’s not.”