April 22, 2008 // Franchising.com // - Trey Gonzalez didn't set out to be an Oprah's Big Give viewer…his goal was to be a contestant. He had his application and audition tape ready for submission when he realized he missed the deadline by almost a year! That's when he says he had a light-bulb moment. "[I realized] I didn't really need to be on the show to give big," he says.
Gonzalez says he and his friends watch the show every Sunday and discuss how they can give back to their community. "We're going to do Big Gives every month for the upcoming year," he says.
To help him get started, Nate Berkus of the Oprah Winfrey Show surprised Gonzalez with cash worth $10,000. Gonzalez was given five days to make the most of this money with every dollar going to a perfect stranger.
After choosing to adopt the Interfaith House, a homeless shelter in Chicago, Gonzalez organized a small group of friends and a list of tasks to raise money and collect necessities for the shelter.
Leisa Onslow was one of those friends. A previous Verlo Mattress Factory Stores customer, Onslow got in touch with Verlo Mattress Factory Stores headquarters.
Onslow explained that she was looking for a sponsor for beds and needed a commitment that day because the Oprah Winfrey Show would be filming as well as announcing who committed donors were. Verlo Mattress Factory Stores has made the commitment to provide the Interfaith House with 64 beds and 128 Everloft® pillows valued at $30,000.
"This has been an incredible cause marketing effort," Verlo Mattress Factory Stores Vice President Keith Mackey said. "We're always happy to help in any way we can."
Headquartered in Fort Atkinson, Wis., Verlo Mattress Factory Stores is the nation's largest Craftsman-Direct® mattress retailer. Offering the only franchise opportunity in the $8 billion-a-year sleep specialty industry, Verlo Mattress Factory Stores earned a spot in Entrepreneur Magazine's 27th Annual Franchise 500 in 2006. Verlo's business model sustains the retail framework for custom-built mattresses, ornamental design beds, futon mattresses, assorted futon covers, futon frames, bolsters and pillows.
Currently, Verlo has a highly concentrated retail presence in the Midwest with stores expanding as far west as Colorado and as far south as Florida and now Texas.