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Small firm going into closet

Closet Concepts makes little spaces more usable

Sept. 19, 2012

If David Kittleson has seen the skeletons in your closet, he's not saying.

And he's not judging either.

"I've seen everything. You can't shock me," said Kittleson, who, with his brother, Ted, owns Closet Concepts.

Started in 1987, the business was inspired by the California Concepts chain.

At first, they designed closets made with custom pieces from contractors. But by 1990, the business had grown enough that the Kittlesons were ready to start making their own closet components.

Nearly 10 years later, the company outgrew its original location at 65th Street and North Avenue and moved to the 120th Street shop, where the eight-employee operation has been ever since.

For Kittleson, every closet starts with a simple question.

"What bugs you about your closet? Once you fix that, once you deal with that, then there's space left. What should we do with that?"

There's plenty of calls for the standard closet re-do. But, Kittleson said, these days he gets a lot of requests for custom storage in garages, pantries, entryways and home-office/guest-room combos.

"We're seeing a lot of what we call 'under roof remodeling,'" Kittleson said. "They're not digging new holes. They're not adding on the back of the house. They're taking what's there and re-doing it."

Some of the smallest closets, like the 4-foot nooks so common in Milwaukee bungalows, are the most fun.

"People think they need a giant walk-in closet to use us," Kittleson said. "But you take that four feet and double hang half. You single hang half, and the space grows by 50 percent. That's a lot of space.

"All we're trying to do is make it easier to do what you do, easier to put things away," Kittleson said. "Make it simple. Make it usable. Don't completely try to change the way you do things. If I can make it easier to put things away than down, then we've won."

JUST THE FACTS

BUSINESS: Closet Concepts, 120 N. 120th St.

WEB: www.closetconcepts.com

PHONE: (414) 453-0066

OWNERS: David and Ted Kittleson

INCORPORATED: 1987

TYPE OF BUSINESS: custom closets

PEARLS OF WISDOM: "If I can make it easier to put things away than down, then we've won."

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