Today, Elsa’s House of Sleep is a landmark of the St. Paul small business community, celebrating 25 years of service to the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. It’s home to everything home for countless satisfied customers who have spotted the store off the Green Line or heard tales of great service passed down through the years.
Still, any story of Elsa’s House of Sleep must start, appropriately enough, with Elsa. And, of course, her mattresses.
In 1966, Elsa Rezene brought her entrepreneurial spirit, to Minnesota from Asmara, Eritrea. Before she founded the longest-running black-owned furniture business in Minneapolis-St. Paul, she honed her sales craft offering beads, clothing, incense and jewelry.
Soon after, a wise old friend pointed Elsa toward mattress sales, and the House of Sleep was born. Through economic downturns and the rise of technology, people would always need a place to rest at the end of the day, Elsa was told. Mattresses offered that soft landing.
Elsa herself was not one to rest. She expanded the business to various types of home furnishings, just as she expanded her family and introduced her children to the business. She even sent her two sons El and Tetra Constantino, to sell area rugs at Tiger Jack’s corner, in Rondo, where they could learn the art of sales and service for themselves.
As the business grew, Elsa’s wise old friend reminded her that while dining room and bedroom sets and area rugs fall in and out of favor over time, mattresses, never go out of style. The same can be said for good service.
While Elsa passed in 2004, her legacy lives on with Elsa’s House of Sleep, and Tetra, her rug-selling son, who now runs her business. Tetra, his family, and his longstanding staff never lose sight of the one-on-one nature of selling home goods. Few things are more personal than the table where we share our daily meals, the chair we rock the baby to sleep in every night or the rug on which they take their first steps. Elsa knew that. Tetra understands it too. The family business is in the business of family. Welcome to Elsa’s House of Sleep. Can we interest you in a new mattress?