The community behind Elsa’s House of Sleep

February 09, 2023

Tetra Constantino learned the importance of customer service and community engagement growing up. They’re lessons he carried with him when he became president of Elsa’s House of Sleep.

What started as a small mattress store on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota, has grown into a white glove, full-service furniture store whose service spans the Twin Cities metro area. When Elsa Rezene started the store in 1997, she put customers and community connection at the forefront. That mindset is one that her son, Tetra Constantino, has maintained since he became the company president in 2001.

“We treat our customers like family, and we have a really good reputation in the community that's just been built up mainly from my mom and the way she interacted with customers,” Constantino says. “She really laid the foundation and taught all of us how to really interact with customers, family, friends, community, and employees, so then that way everybody really has more of a connection.”

That sense of community and connection was of the utmost importance during the multi-year construction of a light rail line on the street directly in front of the store. During that process, Elsa’s House of Sleep and many other businesses in the neighborhood lost their parking, making it difficult for customers to visit.

“We were able to pivot because we had partnered with some other local businesses in order to rent a parking lot,” Constantino says. The block that the store sits on is one of the most diverse in the city, he adds. Due to those local partnerships and Constantino’s lobbying for the parking lot, “there was not one business on the block that closed due to light rail.”

When it comes to supporting community and uplifting other businesses in this diverse community, Nneka Constantino, Tetra’s wife, says it’s important to support those businesses by being both an advocate and a customer.

“When you invest in those businesses in terms of just being a customer, you have an unbelievable economic impact in that community,” she says. “If you want to support those businesses, patron those businesses as a customer first, and then as an ally, and as a business leader. Look for opportunities to not isolate your spending.”


Business lessons learned

Around the time Elsa’s House of Sleep was first getting started, Elsa asked Constantino to help promote the business. So, he started selling furniture from a small nearby store that local entrepreneur, “Tiger Jack” Rosenbloom, had set up. Rosenbloom owned one of the last businesses standing in Rondo, a historic Black neighborhood in St. Paul that was destroyed during freeway construction in the mid-20th century.

In order to work with Rosenbloom, Constantino was required to set a schedule and always be on time. “He held me accountable and then thereafter I ended up just holding myself accountable. So, I hold myself accountable [in] my words and my actions, and also I hold myself accountable in a manner of consistency,” Constantino says. “Consistency is one of the keys to success.”

The lessons that Constantino learned from his mom, Rosenbloom, and other business leaders in his community enabled him to drive success and develop important relationships for Elsa’s House of Sleep. “We try to make sure that we focus on customer service,” he says. “That's something that's really helped us to survive all the different ups and downs in the business.”

“We've kind of developed that foundation and developed a nice company culture, that's really, people-focused more so than profit-focused,” Constantino says, noting that many people might think that being profit-focused is more important. “But we think if you focus on the people, the profits will come.”


Explore more inspiring stories from other featured business owners.

Learn about U.S. Bank

Related content

Addressing financial uncertainty in international business

Webinar: CSM corporation re-thinks AP

Digital banking and cloud accounting software: How they work together

Evaluating interest rate risk creating risk management strategy

5 tips for managing your business cash flow

Tech tools to keep your restaurant operations running smoothly

The future of financial leadership: More strategy, fewer spreadsheets

Building a business with a great product and a greater purpose

The growing importance of a strong corporate culture

Is your restaurant Google-friendly?

Mapping out success for a small-business owner

Employee benefit plan management: trustee vs. custodian

Preparing for your custodian conversion

Save time with mobile apps for business finances

High-cost housing and down payment options in relocation

Crypto + Relo: Mobility industry impacts

For today's relocating home buyers, time and money are everything

How to increase your savings

How to identify what technology is needed for your small business

Tools that can streamline staffing and employee management

Honey Luxury Beauté: growing a side project into an eye-catching beauty business

Improve online presence your business

How increased supply chain visibility can combat disruptors

How a family-owned newspaper is serving its community

Making the leap from employee to owner

How small business owners can budget for the holiday season

Refining your search for an insurance custodian

In a digital world, Liberty Puzzles embraces true connection

For small business growth, consider the international market

8 Ways for small business owners to manage their cash flow

3 simple brand awareness tips for your business

How to get started creating your business plan

5 ways a business credit card program can grow your business

Why credit cards should be the first choice for business payments

5 tips to use your credit card wisely and steer clear of debt

Webinar: CRE technology trends

Business risk management for owners of small companies

5 winning strategies for managing liquidity in volatile times

4 questions you should ask about your custodian

Insource or outsource? 10 considerations

Easier onboarding: What to look for in an administrator

Putting home ownership within reach for a diverse workforce

How this photography business persevered through tough times

How jumbo loans can help home buyers and your builder business

How to apply for a business credit card

5 questions business owners need to consider before taking out a loan

Prioritizing payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic

Meet your business credit card support team

How to establish your business credit score

7 uncommon recruiting strategies that you may not have tried yet

Omnichannel retail: 4 best practices for navigating the new normal

How to reward employees and teams who perform well

8 ways to increase employee engagement

Planning for restaurant startup costs and when to expect them

The moment I knew I’d made it: The Cheesecakery

Business tips and advice for Black entrepreneurs

How a bright idea became a successful business (in Charlotte, North Carolina)

What is needed to apply for an SBA loan

10 tips on how to run a successful family business

Empowering team members

Why retail merchandise returns will be a differentiator in 2022

How a travel clothing retailer is staying true to its brand values

Use this one simple email marketing tip to increase your reach

Opening a business on a budget during COVID-19

How I did it: Grew my business by branching out

How a small business owner is making the workplace work for women

How small businesses are growing sales with online ordering

When small business and community work together

6 common financial mistakes made by dentists (and how to avoid them)

How (and why) to get your business supplier diversity certification

Business credit card 101

Do I need a credit card for my small business?

What kind of credit card does my small business need?

Checklist: Increase lead generation with website optimization

The role of ethics in the hiring process

Choosing your M&A escrow partner

How to test new business ideas

How a group fitness studio made the most of online workouts

Year-end financial checklist

Community and Coffee: How one small business owner is breaking down barriers

How community gave life to lifestyle boutique Les Sol

The San Francisco bridal shop that’s been making memories for 30 years

Community behind Elsa’s House of Sleep

How Wenonah Canoe is making a boom in business last

How Lip Esteem is empowering women

How running a business that aligns with core values is paying off

How Gentlemen Cuts helps its community shine

Meet the Milwaukee businessman behind Funky Fresh Spring Rolls

Complying with changes in fund regulations

High-yield bond issuance: 5 traits lawyers should look for in a service provider

3 tips to maintain flexibility in supply chain management

How to build a content team

Travel for less: Smart (not cheap) ways to spend less on your next trip

Tips to overcome three common savings hurdles

Helpful tips for safe and smart charitable giving

Allowance basics for parents and kids

Administrator accountability: 5 questions to evaluate outsourcing risks

How Shampoo’ed is transforming hair and inspiring entrepreneurs

Webinar: AP automation for commercial real estate

How to spot a credit repair scam

6 ways to spring clean your finances and save money year-round

How to cut mindless spending: real tips from real people

Real world advice: How parents are teaching their kids about money

How to stop living paycheck to paycheck post-pay increase

Practical money tips we've learned from our dads

Give a prepaid rewards card for employee recognition

Making a ‘workout’ work out as a business

5 unique ways to take your credit card benefits further

5 tips to use your credit card wisely and steer clear of debt

30-day adulting challenge: Financial wellness tasks to complete in a month

Celebrity Cake Studio’s two decades of growth and success

How Al’s Breakfast is bringing people together

What you should know about licensing agreements

Webinar: CRE Digital Transformation – Balancing Digitization with cybersecurity risk

Webinar: CRE Digital Transformation – Balancing Digitization with cybersecurity risk

5 steps for creating an employee recognition program

How to hire employees: Employee referral vs. external hiring

Break free from cash flow management constraints

Service provider due diligence and selection best practices

How tenacity brought Taste of Rondo to life

How a bar trivia company went digital during COVID-19

Evaluating interest rate risk creating risk management strategy


Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rates and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.