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The CIAMO Blog

Custom Closet & Storage Industry Dealing with a Robust Closet Economy Amongst Shortages & Inflation

How is the Custom Closet & Storage Industry Dealing with a Robust Closet Economy Amongst Shortages and Inflation?

When is an economic slow-down, not an economic slow-down?

Answer: When everyone is lining up, like trying to find baby formula, to have their closets and storage systems upgraded and willing to wait 10-12 weeks, rather than the traditional 3-4 weeks.

During the previous economic crisis, closet remodelling and renovation projects were nearly last on every homeowners bucket list of things to spend money on. What can be the reason(s) that the custom closet industry is experiencing a banner sales year and cannot keep up with the demand?

We can think of a few:

Fuel prices are not affecting everyone as many during the COVID Plague have transitioned to working from home and are not commuting to the office as before.

In conjunction with this, requests for home offices and home school work areas are booming everywhere.

Having been ‘stuck’ at home for nearly two years, homeowners are staring at their disorganized and chaotic living conditions and can’t stand it any longer.

With money worth less due to runaway inflation, instead of parking their money in stocks, bonds and crypto, a better investment is in ‘tangible goods’ like home improvement projects, especially with real estate property reaching peak values.

Rising mortgage interest rates are slowing down the ‘moving on up the housing food chain’. Therefore, many are staying put and investing in closet and storage space upgrades as an interim solution for growing families and need for more space (efficiency).

You would think the closet and storage industry would be in 7th heaven with increased interest in their products and services. Unfortunately, they are experiencing the same material and labor shortages as everyone else. Two thirds of the independent small closet businesses in North America cannot find skilled labor to operate the sophisticated computerized woodworking machinery in their workshops, nor can they find trainable labor who can install these custom storage systems.

By the way, we are talking about more than just closets. The residential closet industry also includes designing and installing pantries, entertainment and media centers, garage storage and workshops, Murphy wall-bed systems, as well as previously mentioned home offices and work stations (homeschool, gift-wrapping centers, sewing stations, hobby work areas).

The CIA (Closet Institute of America), is the largest closet & storage industry trade group catering exclusively to independents - no franchises are permitted. These closet & storage professionals are comprised of 65% manufacturers (who fabricate their products in their own local workshops) and 35% who outsource production to a local, regional or nationwide dealership network.

Because the problems are industry-wide, owners, key staff and managers of closet design businesses are constantly seeking networking opportunities

CIA is an association of closet and storage professionals that allows members of the group to join its private website: and have access to its many resources and bulletin boards to assist them in growing their businesses and dealing with the current problems.

The CIA’s annual Closet & Storage Summit & Expo is a national event for these closet professionals. Two full days (October 19th- 21st) of intensive woodworking network activities are scheduled through seminars, round tables, discussion panels, and social events.

The Summit Conference is the only national woodworking event for the closet & storage industry that always includes a guided tour of a CIA member’s showroom and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. Live demonstrations of active closet woodworking machines are on display, followed by a showroom tour, networking dinner, and entertaining belt sander races.

Between yearly Summits, the CIA’s private B2B Facebook page is the closet & storage professionals’ 24/7/365 woodworking network venue with thousands of posts, questions and responses per year:

Our CIAMO, CIA Members-Only closet trade group is comprised of veteran closet industry pioneers, entry level entrepreneurs, cabinet shops investigating expanding into the closet & storage industry, and even formerCalifornia Closets, Closets by Design and other franchisees who are discovering the advantages of being an independent company.

This year’s tagline for the Salt Lake City Summit conference is:

SLC Summit Schedules Spectacular Success Strategy Sessions

Sessions, presentations, seminars, round tables and panel discussions will include:

  • Eliminating or reducing costly return trips/go-backs

  • Relying on technology more than additional staff

  • Incorporating LEAN manufacturing

  • Simplifying designer/sales staff expenses and scheduling

  • Better management of purchasing, ordering, inventory and scheduling

  • Outsourcing all or part of your production

  • Cross-training existing employees to fill gaps in staff shortages

  • Maximizing your marketing strategies and expenses

Can you afford to miss these timely topics at a time like this? We doubt it.

For further information, contact CIA Director Jeff Klein at Jeff@


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