1931

The nation was in the depths of the Great Depression. Unemployment was at 25 percent. In the previous two years, 4,720 banks had closed their doors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was hovering in the low 70s and headed for the 40s. In spite of the retrenching going on around him, J. B. Orders, Sr. decided to begin his own business.

"Back in 1931," said J. B. Orders, "times were mighty uncertain. Few people were working regularly. Many people were not eating regularly, and the only thing everybody seemed to be doing with any regularity was sleeping." That's why he entered the mattress business. "I knew no matter what happened, people would continue to sleep, and I felt they would buy good mattresses," he said.

The original building on Fair Street measured 50x100 feet and contained two used pieces of machinery: a sewing machine and a blower for filling the mattresses. With three employees plus himself,J. B. started Orders Mattress Company on November 1, 1931.

The company's foundation was carefully based on hand crafted mattresses, hard work and the personal integrity of J. B. Orders. "From the beginning, we attempted to make a good product. Even though we faced many obstacles in our early days, we have continued to make superior bedding products. It was my belief, even in those difficult days, that the public was willing to pay for quality. We have never changed in this belief and never for a moment lowered the standards of our bedding," stated Orders.

Never happy owing money, J. B. refused to buy materials on an open account for the first two years. He kept life insurance to cover the amounts he borrowed to finance his fledgling business. His philosophy was to make the best possible product, sell it at a fair price and reinvest the profits in the business. He always believed "if you take care of a business when it's young, it will take care of you when you're old."

The first year's payroll of $2,781 was balanced against sales of $21,940 -- approximately what the company now produces hourly.

1934

J. B. turned to a revolutionary new development--one that caused tremendous changes in the bedding industry. He began making innerspring mattresses. At the same time, he made a major policy decision to emphasize premium bedding. Orders' mattresses would be the best he could make.

A good mattress must have a brand name. In a company-sponsored contest, C. D. Roper of Jones Furniture Company in Greenville, South Carolina, submitted the winning idea: "In Order to Rest, Buy Orders' Rest." This soon evolved into the copyrighted trademark and now familiar brand name Orderest®.

The frugal management necessary to keep a company going in the early years extended to J. B. Orders' personal life. From his home to the company was a distance of two miles. Walking to and from work saved ten cents a trip, a sum equivalent to an average hour's wage in those days.

1941—1945

The years during World War II brought price restrictions and a scarcity of materials. Steel, for example, was so scarce that some manufacturers began putting fewer coils in mattresses. J. B.'s response to the new problem reflected his unswerving dedication to a better product. "I made fewer mattresses, but I made them right," he said. J. B. was blessed in many ways but certainly none of greater importance than his wife (Etta) and his two sons (James and Bill).

1948

After educations interrupted by the war, James and Bill entered the expanding business in 1949 and 1948 respectively. Recognizing the abilities and desires of his sons, J. B. turned over various responsibilities to each. James' background as a mechanical engineer led him into plant management while Bill's interest focused on sales management.

L-R: James Orders, J.B. Orders, Bill Orders

1951

the company introduced a new line of premium bedding called Orderpedic. The extra firm bedding quickly became the main stay of the line and the dominant brand in the local marketplace as reported by the "4th Brand Inventory of Greenville, South Carolina" compiled and published by the Greenville News-Piedmont Company.

1955

On January 1, 1955, Orders Tile and Distributing Co., Inc. was founded. Under William H. Orders' leadership, Orders Tile began distributing hard tile and rugs. It grew rapidly by adding new products, territories and customers while continuing J. B. Orders' unbending policy of good customer service.

The year 1955 marked the beginning of a new era in bedding merchandising at Orders Mattress. Although super size bedding had appeared in the late '40s, it had been available only by special order. In May 1955, Orders introduced super size products in king and queen sizes; and, within six months, about 10 percent of sales volume was in this new category. The same year, the company received recognition from the National Association of Bedding Manufacturers for outstanding merchandising of the new super size products

The Orderest story was being told to many people in different ways at the time. J. B. Orders had established a franchise system with factories in Snyder, Texas; Moultrie, Georgia; Bluefield, West Virginia; Chicago, Illinois; and Bangor, Maine. The company's ads consistently appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping and on local television. Orders initiated a liberal dealer cooperative advertising plan. However, the numerous demands imposed on the company and its founder by the franchise system led J. B. to an important conclusion. The company would concentrate on a regional customer base. This decision typified J. B.'s oft-repeated statement to his managers: "Don't try to see how much business we can do, but concentrate on doing a better job with the business we have."

To provide better service to customers in a regional area, Orders Mattress opened distribution centers in Columbia, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Greensboro, North Carolina; and High Point, North Carolina. Coupled with the expansion of the delivery fleet, the company grew by reaching customers more frequently.

1958

On December 9, 1958, James B. Orders, Jr. became president and chief operating officer. In keeping with his upbringing, quality products and good customer service continued to be the theme of daily business. By 1960 the company's expanding customer base required additional manufacturing capacity. Over several years, the bedding factory was enlarged and modernized dramatically. Two new warehouses were built for storage of raw materials and finished product. Next to the factory, new executive offices were constructed.

Changes also took place inside the factory. Tufting was replaced by panel quilting which was replaced by continuous multi-needle quilting. A conveyor system moved products where they had previously been carried by hand. New equipment, like the unit press, made jobs easier, safer and more efficient. During this period, production capacity more than quadrupled

With these many changes came additional opportunities. The company could now work with the largest bedding customers without reducing service levels to others. The product line was extended to include those institutional or industrial products sold by the contract division. Service levels to all customers improved steadily.

1963

On November 2, 1963, Orders Realty Company was created as the real estate entity of the concern.

1972

In the early 1970s, Orders Mattress Company was faced with new business challenges. One was maintaining competitive wages against a marketplace extremely resistant to price increases. In a move applauded by both management and employees, James Orders implemented an incentive wage system in 1972.

1974

Around the same time, Orders began seeking computer answers to his planning questions. By 1974, in spite of one of the worst economic slumps in recent years, the company purchased an IBM System 3 computer. Orders Mattress personnel trained to program and operate the system. "Its most effective use is providing ready access to data for management decisions -- data we would not have without the computer," said James Orders.

1978

In June 1978, the company launched a furniture division in Taylorsville, North Carolina. Products included sofas, sofa sleepers, loveseats and chairs. The division placed major emphasis on an eight-way hand-tied spring construction as well as a comprehensive presentation of fabrics including polished cottons, corduroys, velvets, linens, jacquards and tapestries. The line was further complemented by the availability of queen and regular sofa sleepers in almost every style.

With the establishment of new product classifications, the company changed its name from Orders Mattress Company, Inc. to Orderest, Inc. on July 27, 1978.

1979

In October 1979, the furniture division relocated to Greenville, South Carolina. Situated in the Park Place community, the trade name Park Place Furniture was adopted. As customers became aware the Orderest quality had been extended to a furniture line, demand for the products increased dramatically.

1981

In 1981 Comfortaire Corporation was founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1983 the first high quality air supported sleep systems were premiered at Belk's Department Store in Greenville, South Carolina, and Rich's Department Store in Atlanta, Georgia. The original premise of the Comfortaire experience was that the mattress would adjust to the sleeper rather than the sleeper adjusting to the mattress. That's why today Comfortaire is known internationally for providing individually adjustable comfort and support. A claim very few sleep products can make.

From L to R: John, David, Bill, J.B., James,Jimmy and Mike Smith

1989

In 1989-1990 Jimmy Orders served as president of the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA). At 36 years old Jimmy was the youngest president in association history. A predominant theme of Jimmy's administration was a commitment to the international growth of ISPA.

1994

On March 15, 1994, the company name changed once more to Park Place Corporation. The Park Place name had become synonymous with quality products and prompt, courteous service. The Orderest name remained a flagship brand distributed by the mattress division. The organizational structure of the company consisted of two divisions (mattress and furniture) and two subsidiaries (Comfortaire Corporation and Orders Realty Company, Inc.).

1997

The second and third generations of the Orders family committed significant resources to a new headquarters and mattress manufacturing plant. On July 11, 1997, the company relocated to the new facilities with only one day's downtime.

The Orders family pictured left to right: VP John Orders, President Jimmy Orders, U.S. Congressman Bob Inglis, mother Betty Orders, and VP/Administration David Orders at the 1997 dedication of the new building.

The new plant encompasses 150,000 square feet on a 40-acre campus south of Greenville near I-85. With the new facilities Park Place Corporation quickly moved into the ranks of the top 20 US mattress manufacturers. An affiliate network, including some of the best companies in the mattress business today, provides coast-to-coast service to a growing customer base.

On July 12, 1997 company chairman James B. Orders, Jr. passed away as the move was in progress. His vision and leadership were integral in allowing the company to make this commitment to the future. Without his encouragement and full participation, this important step in the business's development would not have taken place. A commemorative plaque in his honor bearing the inscription, Psalm 127:1a -- "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it" -- is attached to the left front of the building.

2005

In 2005-2006 David Orders served as chairman of the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA). David's service to our industry came during a particularly difficult year of corporate cut backs, post Hurricane Katrina cost increases and accelerating globalization of the mattress business.

On December 30th, 2005 a strategic decision was made to sell Park Place Furniture and concentrate all available resources on our core mattress business. After 27 years as a furniture manufacturer the division was sold as a going concern.

On January 17th, 2013 Comfortaire Corporation was sold to Select Comfort Corporation. Comfortaire began in 1981 and originated the modern air supported sleep system. While Comfortaire’s original product designs have been the industry standard for over 30 years, the company’s mission today is to continue developing innovative sleep solutions designed to provide the ultimate levels of individual comfort and support. We believe that the combination of the two largest air bed companies will benefit our customers and stakeholders.

While much has changed at the company since 1931, the organization's central theme remains the same. "The product and service we provide must be in the best interest of each of our stakeholders, including customers, associates, suppliers and stockholders," states Jimmy Orders, president since December 23, 1986. That philosophy has served Park Place Corporation and its customers well for over 80 years!

Nothing Happened By Accident
How God Worked In My Life
by James B. Orders, Jr.
"Discovering God's mandate to Christian fathers and mothers to tell the children not yet born "the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord," compelled me to write down how God has worked in my life." - James B. Orders, Jr.

To order a complimentary copy of this inspirational book, click here and enter address information.
James B. Orders, Jr.
1925 - 1997
Park Place Corporation | Sleep Great. Live Well
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