In many homes, the garage has become a dumping ground for seasonal items, sports equipment, gardening supplies and much more, to the point where many families cannot even park a car in their garage anymore.
"Your garage is a room of your house. You need to embrace it and make the best possible use of that space," said Jim Melchert, owner of Garage Store, based in East Dundee.
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"In fact, a recent survey showed 80 percent of residents use their garage as their main entrance to their home. How many times do you go through your own front door? Probably not often. So why would you want to have your main entrance be the ugliest place in your house?" he asked.
Founded in 2007, Garage Store is the place to go when you want a garage makeover or a minor tweak. Their solutions range from $339 for an overhead storage rack to $10,000 for a total garage makeover with a polymer floor, wall and cabinet systems, etc.
"All of our products and services for the garage come a la carte so that homeowners can pick and choose what fits into their budget," Melchert said.
For instance, Garage Store carries several lines of cabinets, wall systems, as well as hooks, baskets, specialized sports racks, shelves and much more. In fact, they are the exclusive designer and installer in Illinois for Gladiator GarageWorks cabinets, made by Whirlpool. They also carry bike pulleys, SafeRacks and MonsterRax for overhead storage.
"During the downturn in the economy, lots of tradesmen took any work that came their way, regardless of their true skills. We did not," Melchert said. "All of our staff are trained and certified by our manufacturers. We stuck to what we know and became known as the guys who do things right when it comes to garages, basement workshops, storage rooms and commercial spaces. By doing that, we received many referrals and survived."
One of the most popular parts of Garage Store's service repertoire is the application of easy-to-clean, OSHA-approved, slip-resistant polymer flooring system. Since Melchert is a chemist, he understands the science behind the two-component system and his staff is able to install flooring systems that outperform the competition.
"And since our staff has years of experience in commercial flooring systems such as (in) manufacturing facilities, automotive centers and restaurants, which is more demanding than residential work, they transfer those skill sets to our residential work," he said. "We also use our commercial-grade products with our residential customers, which adds superior strength and performance."
Forty percent of callers to Garage Store are women requesting estimates because they are tired of the mess in their garage. Because of the current economy, they aren't moving to a larger home, so they want to better utilize the space they have and make it more functional and presentable, Melchert said. The other 60 percent are men who want more space for working on their cars or in their garage or workshop.
"A quick fix to free up floor space is installing overhead storage -- stationery or adjustable -- to get seasonal items off the floor. Also, mounting wall cabinets and baskets help store the equipment they have for various sports, hobbies and so forth," he said. "We design, install and help you organize. In more complex cases, we may recommend a professional organizer. That is why we are members of the National Association of Professional Organizers."
Because of that membership, Melchert is able to call on fellow NAPO members to help customers personally organize their new custom garage, as well as other areas of their home.
This spring Garage Store is teaming up with Junk Remedy of Lake Zurich and The Daily Herald to hold the "Extreme Garage Makeover Contest."
For details, visit www.dailyherald.com/contest/garagemakeover. Learn how you can send in a photo of your messy garage and if you are the winner, you will win $2,000 worth of assistance with your cleanup and hauling from Junk Remedy and then a $2,000 garage storage package from Garage Store.
"I would like to design and organize an 8- to 12-foot wall for someone with cabinets, hooks, baskets and even an overhead storage rack," Melchert said. "I would really like to help someone get organized this spring."
Garage Store has a 2,000 square foot warehouse and showroom at 1082 Rock Road Lane, Unit E, East Dundee, which is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
For more information, call (847) 428-8862 or visit www.garage-store.com.