Shirley O'Sullivan believes an entrepreneur who is successful in one field can transfer that success to another.
That's why she has high hopes for her new Closet Masters closet customizing service. Before going into the closet business last year, she operated an instant printing franchise outlet.
Professional closet customizing in the Southland is dominated by large concerns like Canoga Park-based California Closet Co., but O'Sullivan is hoping that her small firm at 16614 Valerio St., Van Nuys, will find its niche in high-end jobs.
"The large firms go for the volume market of standardized closets, where stock shelves and other elements fit without alteration," she said in an interview in a $3-million Calabasas house nearing completion. Her bill for customizing closets and other storage areas in the house will top $5,000.
"We specialize in jobs that can't be handled with stock shelves; we make everything to order, except the Swedish-made Elfa basket units that we buy."
The baskets are the epoxy- or plastic-coated units that are gaining favor on the West Coast; they've long been popular in Texas and other states in the South where high humidity demands a shelf that allows the flow of air to counteract the effects of mold and mildew.
O'Sullivan prefers to combine the wire units with laminated particle board, featuring such touches as brackets that allow the closet pole or poles to be adjusted easily.
Her minimum job is in the $500 price range. She is concentrating on the rapidly growing western end of Los Angeles County, just west of the Los Angeles city limits. Closet Masters is listed in the new Pacific Bell Smart Yellow Pages and the Northwestern area white pages.
If you want to do it yourself, there are stores specializing in closet and storage products in many malls and other locations, as well as locations listed in the handy new "Smart" pages and the regular white pages alphabetical phone book. Too, most home centers sell basket units.