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Mattress retailer Mike Calnan dies PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael J. Knell   
RED DEER, Alberta (11 April 2013) - Well-known independent retailer and owner of Mike's Mattress here, Mike Calnan, died suddenly today. He was 52 years old.

Michael Shaun "Mike" Calnan was born in Toronto and spent his early years in Belleville, Ontario before moving to Alberta sometime in the early 1980s. He began his sales career with Investors Group as an insurance agent and broker prior to joining Campbell's Furniture in 1991.

He was the first employee hired by Eric and Richard Buchfink when they launched Mattress Mattress in Red Deer in 1994.

"Over the past 20 years, Mike has been a significant contributor to the mattress retail landscape here in Alberta and was well known in the Canadian industry," his friend Richard Buchfink, president of the Edmonton-based Mattress & Sleep Company, said. "He is going to be missed by many of us who shared his love of the mattress business. Mike was always available to any person, any walk of life. He gave freely of his time with advice and went above and beyond to lead and guide those who needed a hand up."

Buchfink praised Calnan in both his professional and off-the-job lives. "He did a fine job of establishing Mattress Mattress in the community of Red Deer in the first year, and he perennially led all salespeople in total sales volumes," he recalled. "In some months he'd regularly beat other store sales in our small chain. Mike and I would challenge each other to be our best every day. We'd talk about all of our failures as well as our success on the sales floor, and far more importantly, in life."

Mike Calnan, owner of Mike's Mattress in Red Deer, Alberta.

Prior to joining the industry, Calnan studied to become an ordained minister - an experience Buchfunk believes coloured his thinking for the rest of his life. "His faith became his guide in life. It guided him to be honest in sales, to accept less at times when people were hard pressed to afford what they needed. Rather than embarrass someone, Mike would ‘suggest' a discount to help them out," he recalled.

"When he was troubled or knew his friends or family were troubled either by tragedy, event, or circumstance he followed his faith. Mike was a tremendous source of inspiration and hope to all he encountered throughout his life. He loved being his own master and he loved what he was doing," he continued.

Calnan was also a sports fan - especially the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League.

In 1998, Mattress Mattress took over another Red Deer mattress retailer called Mattress Bad Boys and assigned Calnan to be store manager. "He was probably the only person who could ever have made something out of it," Buchfink said, noting quite a few people had tried.

The store was renamed Mike's Mattress a few years later and moved to its current location in the North Hill district of Red Deer.

Mike Calnan and his daughter, Melanie, bought controlling interest in the store from Eric Buchfink, president of Mattress Mattress, three years ago. Eric, brother of Richard, remains a silent partner in the business which will continue to operate under Melanie's leadership.

"Mike was not only been a great business partner but a great personal friend," Eric Buchfink said.

Calnan is survived by his mother, Hazel Calnan; his daughter Melanie and her husband, Jerad, as well as two grandchildren. He is also survived by his son Robert and daughter-in-law Jennifer; as well as by his brother Pat and his family; and his sister, Kathy and her daughters.

Funeral services for Mike Calnan will be held at the Word of Life Centre in Red Deer, Alberta on Saturday, April 20 at 1pm. For more information, visit the Parkland Funeral Home web site at

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