Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 30
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors

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Iris Interiors

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Weather Forecast

It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton

IN-STYLE STORAGE: “Our focus is helping to bring organization into your life. Not only closets, but home offices, entertainment centers, pantries, laundry and mud rooms, and the garage.” Dan and Shiva Nili, owners of the California Closets franchise in Cranbury, are shown by a display of sample design systems.

Storage Solutions for Out-of-Control Closets Offered By California Closets in Cranbury

Space — there’s never enough! This is especially true of closets. Who among us would feel perfectly comfortable opening a closet door — without advance notice — and let anyone take a look? Who knows what could be lurking within? Piles of stuff, old sneakers, worn-out board games, a forgotten bag of clothes for Good Will, a box filled with miscellany from the 1960s — and that’s just one closet!

Trying to find something in it — something you really need, whether to wear, or work with, or return — can be daunting. It can also take unnecessary and valuable time, which causes, irritation, anxiety, and a headache.

It’s really all about time and space — and not enough of either. California Closets can definitely help with the space, which will then help with the time.

Started in 1978, the company has grown into an international enterprise with more than 100 franchises in the U.S., as well as in Canada, South and Central America, and Europe. In addition to closets, it offers storage design for home offices, entertainment centers, kitchen pantries, laundry and mud rooms, and garages.

Leaps and Bounds

“We can help you with anything,” says Shiva Nili, vice president of California Closets at 2666 Route 130 in Cranbury. She and her husband and co-owner Dan Nili purchased the franchise 25 years ago, and have seen the business grow by leaps and bounds.

“Dan was in computer programming, and I was a teacher, and we wanted to have our own business,” recalls Ms. Nili. “This is really our baby, and we are very happy because it is now a family business, since our son Eric has joined us.”

Storage systems in houses are the major part of the Nili’s business, and bedroom closets remain the most sought-after design. “Our customers trust us,” points out Ms. Nili. “They allow us to go into their closets. Your mom, your sister come to visit, but even they don’t go into your closets. Everything we do is customized for each client, and our customers expect good service. Fifty percent are return customers.”

Indeed, when a client sees what a difference one organized closet can make, they often move onto the next project — other bedroom closets, linen closets, pantries, etc.

“It’s really freeing,” said one customer. “I never realized what a difference it can make in time, not having to go through all that stuff, trying to find things.”

“People frequently have closets that are too crowded,” reports Ms. Nili. “If it is clothes, we suggest if they’re outdated or don’t fit, discard them; if something is broken, let it go. We must have an empty space for the installers. And this helps you too.”

Free Estimate

Once you have taken that first step and have called California Closets, a designer will come to evaluate the space. “We will give you a free estimate,” says Ms. Nili. “We’ll measure and design the re-organized space with a computer, and show you a picture of how it can look.”

This can include new shelving, hanging systems, cabinets, drawers, etc.

She adds that they always work within the existing space; there is no new construction.

Whatever system the client selects is manufactured in the Nili’s workshop at the Cranbury location, and should arrive at the customer’s location in seven to 10 days. It is then typically installed within two hours, depending on the size of the closet and project.

California Closets/Cranbury has five designers and five installers on staff.

Home offices, entertainment centers, and mud rooms have become popular projects lately, reports Ms. Nili, who enjoys being organized herself. Laundry rooms are another area people are interested in. We like to keep it as simple as possible and make life easier for people. The less clutter you have, the more time you have. You don’t have to spend a lot of time looking for things.

in the case of the garage, she notes that “Not everyone has room for their car in the garage. We want to help them. Also, if someone is very interested in cars and has a special car, they will want a special garage.”

Your Choice

The possibilities in color, style, and materials are almost endless. Everything is customized, so the client can select whatever finish, hardware or accessory he or she wishes. An “island” in the closet? No problem. A wine cabinet or high-style wine rack in the pantry? You bet. The latest Italian “Lago” textured finish on the bedroom or media room cabinets and shelving? It’s yours for the asking.

Formal, informal, traditional, modern, country, casual — whatever your choice, it’s available.

“Life-style is important,” adds Ms. Nili. “For example, if someone likes to garden, a mudroom is really needed for boots, garden basket, etc. It’s also great for kids’ boots, mittens, scarves, with hooks for hanging or baskets and bins.

“Another thing,” she points out, “a lot of people are down-sizing now, and they really need to maximize their space. And also, with the difficult economy, I think there is more focus on the home now. People are traveling less and spending more time at home. They want it to be as nice as possible and have a really nice atmosphere. We try to make life as happy and easy as it can be for you.

“Also, there are no taxes on our products since they are considered home improvement. Cost depends on size, materials, and the scope of the job. We also offer six-month financing.”

Ms. Nili is delighted that new customers are coming to the very attractive showroom, and she especially enjoys introducing them to a variety of storage systems. “Just remember, too,” she reminds us, “it’s important to maintain the new closet. Collecting is easy; discarding is hard. It really is wonderful for people when they open the door, and everything is right where it’s supposed to be.”

California Closets is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 to 2. (609) 655-1899.


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