It's a familiar story: Ambitious San Fernando Valley teen-ager starts a business in his garage, soon has his parents working for him, becomes a big success, with house in the hills, German luxury car.
Everyone knows the end, or will when the television mini-series comes out!
No, I'm not talking about the person everyone thinks about in this context, but rather 27-year-old Neil Balter, the founder, 10 years ago, of California Closet Co. Inc. He was featured in my Oct. 3, 1982, column, when the company had a Canoga Park showroom and another in Costa Mesa.
The Woodland Hills-based firm now has 86 locations in the United States, Canada and Australia and is expanding into Japan and Europe. Balter owns three showrooms: 18312 Oxnard St., Tarzana; Nassau County, Long Island, and Arlington Heights, Ill., a Chicago suburb. The other 83 are franchises.
"What we do today has little or no resemblance to what we did in 1982," Balter said as we toured the Tarzana showroom. He pointed out the three grades of particle board used in renovating closets, from economy sanded but unfinished to luxury fully laminated; mini-carrousels for walk-in closets, about $1,500 and up; modular drawers, shelves and wire baskets to instantly change the configuration of a closet.