“I never thought I'd be excited about closets,” says Catrina McAuliffe, franchise owner of the recently opened Closet & Storage Concepts in Plymouth. In fact, she never planned to be in the closet business at all. After a 30-year career working as a strategic planner in advertising, Catrina retired to spend more time with her husband, Ken. But the couple soon found retirement more of a burden than a blessing. “We lasted about three months,” she says. “We’re both super-active people.”
They began working with a franchise consultant who eventually pointed them to Closet & Storage Concepts. They took two different assessments—one about whether they could be successful franchise owners, and one to see if they could work well together as business partners. Catrina was surprised. “If someone had said 10 years ago, ‘You’re going to be running a business with your husband,’ I would have said no way,’” she says.
As it turns out, the pair works very well together. With a background in general contracting, Ken handles production and operations, while Catrina works in sales, marketing and HR. The business creates custom closet and storage units on-site in a variety of finishes, shapes and sizes.
“We custom design, manufacture and install,” says Catrina. “We start by going into the home and measuring, asking the homeowner about their needs. We spend a lot of time with people figuring out what they want and how they do things.”
For example, some people hang their pants while others fold them, some keep winter and summer clothes separate. Even how people fold their sweaters can make a difference in their storage needs. “As a strategic planner, I want to know what makes people tick,” she explains. Senior clients may need somewhere to sit while they change their shoes, clients with kids may need closets with tiers of hanging options that will be able to grow along with them. Catrina and her team take all of this into account when creating each individual design. "People are thinking, 'How can I make my space more functional?'”
But functionality doesn’t mean the design can’t be beautiful. Along with budget-friendly solutions, Closet & Storage Concepts offers premium finishes from hardwood to high-end melamine, custom colors, brushed gold and stone hardware, and other special additions like leather finishes, granite countertops, lit closets, and in-closet sound systems. “Have high-end accessories on a more modestly priced item,” says Catrina. “Having a great closet in itself is a luxury, so how do you make that affordable and work best? It’s different for different people. Find something that will inspire you, don’t force anything.”
Where retirement didn’t work out, the franchise seems to be a perfect fit for Catrina and Ken. Their efforts are fueled by a passion to improve people’s lives by making their spaces and homes work better for them. “Everyone deserves a little luxury,” Catrina tells me as her pup, Myrtle, cozies up to my leg for a pat. And she really means it. The next item to go in the showroom? A Murphy dog bed.