Danielle Segar (who didn't want her real name used so we'll go with Danielle Segar) looks toward the Mattress Firm and Mattress Pro stores located right next door to one another at a shopping center in the heart of Montrose. She smiles before speaking, saying, "People are beginning to call it The Mattrose. Personally, I think it's happening because a bunch of Reptilian Overlords have decided they want us to all sleep comfortably forever, while they invade the neighborhood."
Segar has lived in Montrose for more than 16 years, and has seen the neighborhood change a lot over that time. Her theory on the area's boom in mattress stores may not be entirely serious, but she's not the only resident that regards it as an invasion- A kind of pillow-topped plague that's quickly eroding the character of the area. There are several mattress stores now operating within a small distance of one another, but the Mattress Firm and Mattress Pro located at the corner of Westheimer Road and Montrose Boulevard in the old Westmont shopping center, seems to have particularly alarmed some residents.
Megan Armstrong moved into Montrose in the early '90s, as a young artist drawn like others to the neighborhood's bohemian charm. She's watched many of her friends get priced out of the area as gentrification brought in redevelopment and new types of residents, but still loves Montrose. Even so, the new mattress shops springing up around the area concern her.
Armstrong explains, "I see that Mattress Firm and Mattress Pro right next to each other, and it blows my mind that they opened right at Westheimer and Montrose. This neighborhood has changed so much since I moved here 23 years ago, and those stores just look like they belong out on Harwin or near a freeway exit. There're at least two other mattress stores right down the street on Shepherd, and more scattered around the area. I just don't get it."
There are many theories as to why a neighborhood once most known as the center of Houston's gay community, and an oasis of sorts for artists and other unconventional people is suddenly becoming a stronghold for mattress stores. Besides the Westheimer/Montrose location, Mattress Firms in particular are well represented in the Montrose area, with one at Westheimer and Wesleyan and another at West Gray and Montrose Boulevard. Part of the attraction is obvious to anyone living in the area, as construction on new homes and apartments is going full throttle, which will mean throngs of new residents will be flooding into the area soon, and the mattress companies, or Reptilian Overlords (depending on who you ask) are hoping those newcomers will need a new mattress set.
We did attempt to interview employees of the mattress stores but all declined our request. Which leaves us with trying to figure this out without them.