SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When 23-year-old first-time business owner Kim Knopf opened her first mattress store on D Street in South Charleston in November 1983, she hoped to build a business that could grow over time.
What she didn't realize was over the next three decades, that one little shop would grow into a 500-employee corporation -- Innovative Mattress Solutions -- with more than 150 stores in five states.
"I knew we would be a growing organization, but I have to be truthful, I didn't think we would have this many locations," Knopf said.
Knopf joined employees, family, friends and members of the Charleston Area Alliance at the company's newest Mattress Warehouse store in South Charleston's Riverwalk Mall on Wednesday to celebrate the company's 30th anniversary.
The Riverwalk location is the company's newest store. Now headquartered in Winfield, Innovative Mattress Solutions also does business as Sleep Outfitters and Mattress King, in addition to the Mattress Warehouse brand.
Knopf said she was glad to have the 30th anniversary party in South Charleston, just up the road from where the company got its start.
"We're very fortunate that this business started right here in South Charleston," she said. "The community here has been extremely supportive."
Knopf had never owned a business before she opened that first store in 1983. She said she probably wouldn't have stayed in business either, had it not been for the city's support in those early years.
"It's just a warm feeling to think that it all just really started here," she said. "I learned a lot from people here. I have great friends and a lot of support."
She said that support is something she has never forgotten and is why she puts a strong emphasis on company stores giving back to their local communities.
In addition to sponsoring community events, she said the company has worked in partnership with West Virginia, Marshall and West Virginia State universities, as well as many other schools in the state, in providing internships and student education projects.
While the company has seen explosive growth over the last 30 years, Knopf hopes to continue that trend for the foreseeable future.
She said her team is currently working on its expansion plans for 2014.
The company currently has stores in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Alabama, and Knopf hopes to add more states to that list in the near future.
"Our goal is going to be to continue to expand into some additional geographical areas," she said. "We're doing a lot of due diligence on that right now."
She said the key to the growth has been the team she has put together. She said they are a fast-paced group of people that are constantly on the move and visiting stores.
She said she values that kind of workplace environment and believes that high-energy, fast-paced workflow helps attract quality employees.
"In trying to attract the best work force and leaders, I have found they always want to be a part of a growing organization, where they can continue to learn and grow professionally," she said.
"We've got a very good team here in West Virginia, and across all of our distribution centers and regional offices as well."
Contact writer Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.