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Greek company sleeps easy amid crisis

From Matthew Chance, CNN
May 18, 2012 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
  • Greek bedding company Coco-Mat has a global turnover of more than $75 million
  • It makes metal-free beds and mattresses from sustainable materials
  • It allows potential buyers to sleep on its beds in an unusual "try before you buy" arrangement
  • The company promotes nature as the place where solutions can be found

(CNN) -- Greece may be in the midst of an economic crisis but one company continues to sleep easy.

Coco-Mat, a family business which makes beds and mattresses out of natural materials, is expanding despite the country's economic crisis.

The company, which has a workforce of 220 and last year raked in over $75 million, is based in the picturesque mountains in north-eastern Greece. But it is now increasing its retail outlets across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the U.S.

Coco-Mat specializes in manufacturing sustainable mattresses and bed products made of coco fibre, natural rubber, wool, cotton, goose down, horsehair, silk, linen, wood and even seaweed.

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"Socrates, Plato, Aristotle: they used to sleep on mattresses made out of cotton, made out of seaweed, made out of aroma therapy. So the principle is the same," said Coco-Mat's co-founder Pavlos Eymorfidis.

"We follow the tradition of all these wise people, and nowadays we produce non-metal beds and mattresses," he added.

The design and philosophy behind Coco-Mat has contributed to making it a commercial success both at home and abroad.

It also has a very different approach to the "try before you buy" policy. In Amsterdam and New York the company offers potential buyers the chance to test drive its mattresses in a no-strings-attached napping arrangement.

Shoppers looking to find their dream bed are given complimentary food, drink, slippers, a robe and access to private rooms equipped with showers and comfy big beds in which they will hopefully fall asleep for a few hours at a time.

The idea of giving customers such a different shopping experience adheres to the company's philosophy that it takes more than five minutes to determine what type of bed you would want for the next 20 years.

According to Eymorfidis, Greeks should take this more natural approach as they seek change. "I believe Greeks like me should listen to the birds, they should listen to trees, to the sea, and not to computers, to solutions in Syntagma Square to see what's going on. I really mean it, because nature is waiting for us with a lot of chances, with a lot possibilities, a lot of solutions."

CNN's Stina Backer contributed to this report

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