Remember when shopping for a new mattress meant physically walking into a brick-and-mortar showroom lined with rows of bare white mattresses and forking over upwards of $1,000 for your favourite, only to have to stress about how the hell the delivery guys were going to get a king-sized block of foam and steel through your awkwardly angled entryway—or worse, up the stairs to your third-floor, elevator-less apartment—without doing in a wall?

Yeah, me neither. And much of that has been thanks to Casper, the New York City-based bed-in-a-box biz founded in 2014 that’s changed the way many folks shop for mattresses. (Though it’s worth noting that Edmonton-based Novosbed is the true direct-to-consumer mattress pioneer, having launched a full five years before Casper did. Look at us Canadians, always too humble to assert our prominence!)

Casper Sleep Shop
Credit: Casper

Direct-to-consumer bed biz Casper has opened its first Western Canadian stores in Vancouver and Calgary.

Like Novosbed, Casper is known for its relatively affordable expandable foam mattresses, which come compressed in easily-fits-through-your-door boxes. And it’s inspired many a copycat since its conception—so much so that mattresses-in-a-box are a highly competitive market now. And like any direct-to-consumer success story, what started as a strictly online biz now has brick-and-mortar locations, too. Though, like the brand’s recently opened locations in Vancouver (2294 West 4th Avenue) and Calgary (at Chinook Centre), demonstrate, they’re a far cry from traditional big-box mattress stores.

Casper Sleep Shop

Inside a miniature home display at Casper, where customers can book 30-minute naps.

The first Western Canadian “sleep shops” for Casper, the stores look like rooms you could move right into, all warm lighting and natural woods and soothing pops of pastel pink, yellow and blue. And then there are Casper’s beds, each style of which is housed in a “miniature home” display where customers can pre-book 30-minute naps online, essentially putting the beds to the snooze test before they commit. (Don’t worry, I’m told the sheets—also made by Casper—are changed in between sleep seshes.)

Basically, it’s an opp to sample Casper’s buzzed-about mattresses and product lineup before clicking (or heading to the) checkout. (Casper mattresses remain available at Hudson’s Bay, EQ3 and Indigo stores in Canada. And I’m told that the company has plans to open more stores across the West.) You know, in case you’re skeptical of the reviews you’ve read online and want to go old-school with an IRL, kick-back-and-relax mattress test.