Family to carry on mattress maker’s legacy after his death
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Dec 10, 2013, 17:01
CAITLIN DAVIS/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT From left, Carman Faison, Justin Faison and Dickie Roberts, hold a portrait of Winn. Justin is joining the business with Roberts to help carry on the legacy
HOPEWELL — Tucked away on Terminal Street in Hopewell is a business founded by the late Winn Butterworth. Custom Comfort by Winn Ltd. was started in 1988 by Butterworth, where he used his passion to create a better product for a better night’s sleep. After his passing on Nov. 8, his family is stepping into the role of keeping his legacy in the mattress industry alive and strong.
Justin Faison, Butterworth’s son-in-law, is being appointed as vice president of the company, and Butterworth’s wife, Cindy, has assumed the role as president. Though the faces of the company may have changed, the message and the standards will still remain the same and that is a promise that the family, as well as staff, are keeping.
“We felt like as a family, Justin and my mom, that there’s a lot of people that depend on us,” said Carman Faison, Butterworth’s step-daughter. “There’s our employees, we have some retailers that we are basically their sole product and ... all of their employees. It’s just too many people’s lives would be affected if we just shut the doors.”
Justin is joining the company after leaving behind a job working with an international mineral mining and manufacturing company.
“It was a pretty easy decision to make really,” Justin said. “Somebody had to step in somewhere to keep things going.”
Butterworth, who was born and raised in Hopewell, founded the company in 1988 after working for a number of years for a national manufacturing company. His family was also involved in the furniture industry, such as his father, who ran the Butterworth’s Furniture Store.
One of his partners in the company, Dickie Roberts, who will still remain as one of the vice presidents, said Butterworth’s passion was to take products that were already available and come up with something to make people utter words of shock and awe.
“He always wanted to do better than everybody else did,” Roberts said.
For a brief moment, Roberts takes a breath and reflects on his time with Butterworth, those 30 years he spent as his partner in the mattress industry. For those 30 years, he said every morning the two would sit down and talk, about work, family, or life in general. Now, Roberts is working on adjusting to those quiet mornings.
“We were always on the same page and sometimes we thought alike,” Roberts said. “He was a very good man, very honest guy, always there.”
The company was founded by Butterworth, Roberts and Charles Lynch, the other vice president of Custom Comfort. Roberts said for three to four years, just the three men kept the business afloat. He said they picked up the materials, built the product, and delivered the product. Roberts said they learned the ins and outs of the mattress business and industry together. Once time had passed, the three men started to bring employees aboard.
Now, Custom Comfort Ltd. has a total of seven employees, along with two independent contractors. Roberts estimated the business produces 15 to 25 mattresses a day. The company has also made custom mattress for some stars in Hollywood, including Willard Scott and the Smothers brothers and even local politician, former Gov. George Allen.
CAITLIN DAVIS/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Carman Faison, step-daughter of Winn Butterworth, shows off one of Winn’s latest creations, a mattress for boats.
Though Butterworth held a passion for a good night’s sleep, he also held passions apart from the furniture industry, such as fishing on his boat, Winn’s Cin, and putting a smile on the faces of his friends and family, with his singing and his “big belly laugh.”
“He was so much fun to be around. He was silly, he would sing songs, he always had a song for everything,” Carman said. “He would sing a commercial jingle or sing along to a song but not usually get the words right. That was always our joke.”
Butterworth also held his friends close to his heart. Carman said Butterworth had an “incredible” group of friends, many of whom he had been friends with since elementary school. She said the children of his friends are some of their best friends.
Now, 25 years later, Butterworth leaves behind those friends and family members, but his legacy will live on, not only through his business, but his dedication to his customers.
“We want to make sure that everyone knows that the quality’s going to be the same and the customer service is going to be the same that its always been,” Carman said. “It’s all the same people. It’s the same people making the mattresses, the same people dealing with the customer service.”
Justin is also committed to keeping the company values the same and in tact. He said this will also be accomplished by the experience that remains with the company, such as the other partners, Lynch and Roberts. Together, he said, the three will keep the quality and the customer service the same.
“Our first goal is to keep everything the way it is, to keep everything functioning as normal,” Justin said.
Roberts took away many lessons from Butterworth and now plans on applying them in his absence, lessons such as how to interact with employees and how to be a guiding light to the crew.
“He taught you a lot of lessons and knowledge of things and how to do things, in a very personal way that you understood things,” Roberts said.
Roberts also has faith and confidence that the Custom Comfort by Winn mattress company will still continue to thrive, even in the absence of the admiral.
“I think Justin is going to be very good for us, a new perspective,” Roberts said. “He’ll mesh well with us. He’s new to the thing but he’ll do well. We’re very glad to have Justin in here. ... The admiral is not here but the crew will keep the boat floating.”