Westboro business continues family legacy – Kitchissippi times

The storefront along Richmond Road. Photo by Maureen McEwan.

By Kassia Skorzewska

Hardy Mattress Feather & Upholstery Inc. has called Westboro home for almost 30 years but the company was established back in 1905.

“They were making mattresses and sleeping bags for the army. In the 30s, they moved to Bank Street where they were making mattresses, pillows and duvets, as well as selling foam,” said Tony LePage, owner of Hardy Mattress.

“In 1993, I bought it and moved to 295 Richmond Road, just across the street, and there, we started making upholstery,” he added. “And then in 1999, we bought the building at 278 and that’s where we are now.”

Tony’s wife, Sylvie Malette, works at Hardy Mattress and has been the accountant since 1993.

Tony has been working at Hardy Mattress since 1977, back when his brother-in-law, Gaston LePage, was the owner.

“He needed employees, so I started working for him and I loved it. I’m a good worker; he really liked me, and I really liked to work with him,” said Tony.

Within about a month of moving to Richmond Road from Bank Street, Tony noticed business picking up.

“I really think when I moved from Thurston to here, business doubled every year and [we’ve had] more and more employees,” he said.

Currently, Hardy Mattress sells and makes mattresses, pillows, duvets and foam for cushions. They also sell almost every type of pillow.

“We make all of them: synthetic, down, mixture, foam—all the products they have on the market. We also have latex pillows,” said Tony.

Everything made for sale in the store is made on site, and for mattresses it takes about one to two weeks to complete. The company also specializes in reupholstering furniture.

When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, a challenge the family business faced was getting fabric in.

“Money wise, it didn’t affect the business, because we were making a lot of mattresses for Ottawa housing for the women’s shelters, The Ottawa Mission and Shepherds of Good Hope,” said Tony.

“When COVID hit, they started ordering by the hundreds,” he added.

As owner, another challenge Tony faced during COVID-19 was having to let go of his staff, which left him as the only employee. Now that restrictions have been lifted, Tony has been able to bring his employees back.

“I like it because I don’t have to do everything by myself,” he said.

On April 1, Tony will be stepping down as owner of Hardy Mattress, when his nephew, Denis, takes over.

“I just want to retire; I’ve done what I’ve had to do here. And if they need me for repairs or if he’s got a lot of mattresses to do, he can call me up and I’ll come and help. [Or] if he wants to go on holiday, I’ll come and serve the customers,” said Tony.

“I still love my job, but, for me, I think it’s time to take a break,” he added.

The owner is looking forward to travelling, relaxing and spending time with his wife as he looks ahead to the future.

To learn more, visit hardymattress.ca.

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