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Parking in the Garage Market

Organizers Direct was featured in Closets Daily!  The following article is about Organizers Direct owner Neil Balter and the new garage market he is driving the company into.

Neil Balter has begun a dramatic expansion of his home organization and storage company, Organizers Direct, which started in 1992 and supplies approximately 225 dealers with its closets offerings. Balter, who is the company’s CEO, is well known in the home storage industry as the legendary founder of California Closets. Late last year, Organizers Direct and its business partner Whip’s Carpentry purchased physical assets of PremierGarage, including use of a 57,000-square-foot factory in Phoenix.  Following the acquisition, the Organizers Direct product line was reconfigured and relaunched as the NX Garage Line.

“We are now in a position to make a real run at the garage market, where previously garages accounted for only a small part of our product mix,” says Balter.  “With the introduction of the NX Garage Line, plus the addition of flooring solutions, we expect this to become a more substantial part of our business.”

Balter says that his company’s deeper extension into this growing segment will help the firm increase market share as custom garages continue to grow in popularity. The move also benefits dealers who purchase from Organizers Direct. Since the mid-1990s, the company has supplied in-home organizational materials to hundreds of dealers across North America. The Arizona factory is generating quicker lead times for West Coast dealers, while the firm’s 70,000-square-foot toronto site serves East Coast dealerships.

The company also is carrying an expanded inventory of nearly 7,000 unique stock-keeping units (SKUs). Prior to the acquisition that number was approximately 5,000.  Once integration is complete, both locations will offer the complete catalog of SKUs.  “Organizers Direct delivery times will run 7 to 10 days”, Balter says.  Mirrored factories in the U.S. and Canada will also ensure that the product supply chain will create redundancy, so deliveries will not be disrupted by unforeseen events or emergencies.  “The idea of only having one factory used to keep me up at night,” says Balter.  “Two fully integrated sites gives our dealers peace of mind knowing that we’ll be here to fulfill their orders on time, no matter what.”  Balter says he is committed to simplifying the operational process, so dealers can focus on the most important part of their business: lead generation and sales.

Custom Garages Gaining Popularity

Balter points out that as homeowners view garages as more than merely places to store cars, the space has become an extension of the home. Highly finished garage storage and functional workspaces are becoming mainstream and are no longer viewed as lower priority home upgrades.

“More people are looking for showcase garages, where hobby workstations, finished floors and ample storage make a statement”, says Balter, “we’re offering a growing market that could become just as big as the custom closet industry”.

NX Garage Offers Extensive Color, Configuration Options
Following the Organizers direct acquisition of PremierGarage’s factory, the product line was reconfigured, resulting in the NX Garage (short for Next Generation Garage) product line that brings together the best of both companies and offers more options than ever before. (see adjacent box.)  “PremierGarage had an excellent product and a very loyal customer base, bringing nothing but positive additions to our business model,” says Neil Balter, Organizers Direct CEO. NX Garage highlights:• Extensive SKUs: an extensive offering of heights and depths, plus a variety of accessories, allowing for more creativity when designing• Hinge or Sliding Doors: sliding doors, ideal for narrow garages, allow access while the vehicle is parked inside• Eight Colors Options: Coco, Maple, Powder Coated Red, Powder Coated granite, slate/silver, *Windswept Pewter and *Windswept Bronze

• Countertop Options: Butcher Block, ebony star and stainless steel

• Slat Wall and Gridwall: Wall mounted organization systems sold with hooks, baskets and themed kits for storing frequently accessed or oversized items that do not fit in cabinets

• Overhead Storage: space maximizing storage for less frequently accessed items

“On average, a custom closet is about $2,000, whereas a custom garage with flooring is about $5,000,” Balter notes.  The comparative difference in square footage translates to more cabinetry and shelving in a garage, increasing the job’s value.

“Don’t forget about flooring,” Balter tells dealers. “It’s a simple sell and a fairly easy installation process since the vast majority of garages are untreated concrete, making coated or flex tile flooring a simple addition to the job.”

Focus on Generating Leads

Since he has expanded Organizers Direct, Balter touts it as “a non-franchise franchise.”  He has structured its entire business model on the goal of freeing up dealers to focus on marketing, not operations.

“We know from over 30 years of experience that our dealers are most successful when they’re able to focus on generating leads and closing sales,” he notes.

“At the end of the day, the changes made to the garage product line and our operations process are intended to help our dealers be even more successful with earning business because we’re now able to operate as a one-stop-shop for all of their in-home and garage needs,” he explains.

These changes are working well, according to the dealers.  Ed Hammill, owner of Distinctive Closets serving the Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio area, has been purchasing from Organizers Direct since starting his company in 2005.  “I sold three garages in the first four weeks following the release of NX Garage, and I anticipate keeping that pace going forward,” says Hammill.

Prior to NX Garage, Distinctive Closets averaged about 12 garages per year, and Hammill credits the 30 percent increase in just one month to the expanded number of SKUs and better price point that NX Garage provides.  “Neil makes everything easy so we can focus on providing the best customer service possible,” Hammill says.  “NX Garage allows for truly custom design, and the inventory of available heights and widths makes tight areas workable. drawers and sliding doors are also highlights that customers really enjoy.”

What’s Next?

Next year marks Balter’s 35th anniversary in the industry he is recognized for creating, and he’s as passionate as ever.  Already, plans for the next 12 months include expanding the company’s flooring division under the guidance of Rob Kinealy, who was recently hired as director of flooring, plus more training and marketing support for dealers.

“There’s a lot of excitement for what’s next,” says Balter.  “We’re a limber company with the ability to act fast and take advantage of new business opportunities as they arise.”

: Neil Balter is joining Closets Daily as a regular blogger, sharing ideas and insights on all things home organization, including tips for marketing, working with customers, growing a business and more.

So as you can see, Organizers Direct’s garages are about to become better than ever!  It is time to make room in that garage because Organizers Direct is coming through!

If you are interested in designing your own custom garage, contact Organizers Direct for a free in-home estimate.

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