Vail Valley Bizwatch: Closet Factory of Colorado | VailDaily.com
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Vail Valley Bizwatch: Closet Factory of Colorado

Daily Staff ReportNewsroom@vaildaily.comVail, CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyAndre Willner is the Vail Valley representative for Closet Factory
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Business Name: Closet Factory & Wall Beds of Colorado.Owners: Mark & Polly Lestikow.Contact Information: The local Closet Factory representative is Andre Willner.Phone: 970-949-7122.E-mail: andre.willner@closetfactory-colorado.com.What Goods or services do you provide? We provide custom home storage systems ranging from very simple functional designs in classic white or champagne melamine to real wood veneers, which are painted or stained at our manufacturing facility. Our custom-made products include closets, pantries, laundry rooms, entertainment centers, offices, garage storage systems and Murphy-style beds with accompanying cabinetry. All of our systems are floor-based rather than wall-hung, so the customer does not have to be concerned about things falling off the wall. Our systems can be enhanced by adding raised panel drawer and door faces made of solid wood, adding fluted columns, crown molding and base molding. We work closely with our customers to get the function they need, the look they want, at a price they are comfortable with. I always tell my customers, “If it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work for me!”What’s new and exciting at your place? We recently started a new division of Closet Factory called Wall Beds of Colorado, which focuses on Murphy-style beds and accompanying cabinetry. You can combine a wall bed with a desk, an entertainment center, or with additional storage cabinets. By doing this customers are creating multi-purpose rooms, and getting the bed out of the way when it’s not being used, and all in a style that will coordinate with the decor of our customers’ homes. To see examples go to our Web site: wallbedsofcolorado.com.What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? Our products are custom-made, which means we are not tied in to modular sizes or a limited number of finishes and styles. A floor-based system is more versatile, and looks more like a built-in piece of furniture. And because we manufacture everything in Colorado, our prices are very competitive with companies that have nowhere near our capabilities. Our 33,000 square foot showroom and manufacturing facility is located in Centennial, in the Denver area. We are the largest Closet Factory franchise in the nation, and the largest provider of closet and storage solutions in Colorado. We’re very proud to be the market leaders.What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you? My goal is to get my customer to become my advocate. I achieve this by, first, doing everything I can to satisfy my customers’ functional, aesthetic and budgetary requirements. Second, I make sure that I respect the value of my customers’ time by being prompt not only with my appointments, but by responding quickly with proposals. Finally, I emphasize that Closet Factory stands behind its products by offering a lifetime warranty.Tell us a little about your background, education and experience: I’ve been a senior design consultant with Closet Factory for 15 years. I convinced Mark Lestikow to hire me because I told him I could find customers in the mountains! I remember riding my bicycle to construction sites and talking to site supervisors. I’d give them information, and end up working with a lot of their homeowners. Today, almost all of my business is with builders, interior designers, past customers and referrals. In 2007 I was given an award at the Closet Factory National Designer Conference. Out of 600 designers nationwide I had the highest average sale. Mark has told others – and me – that hiring me was the best decision he’s made since starting Closet Factory!I graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968 with a Ph.D. in Materials Science. From 1968 to 1990 I worked as a plastics engineer. One of the companies I worked for was The Head Ski and Tennis Racket Company, where I held the position of Manager of Manufacturing Engineering. I left the engineering field to become a ski instructor for Vail and Beaver Creek in 1990. I still teach skiing and snowboarding during the winter.What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you opened? When I first went to work for Closet Factory I thought it would be cool to have a license plate that said “CLOSETS.” I was a bit puzzled that no one had that license plate until one day at a gas station a guy asked me if I was gay! I said, “No, but I would be happy to help you organize your closets.” Since then that license plate has generated a lot of customers for me!


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