Jeff Henderson of Lantana is a “serial entrepreneur,” who is blessed with a unique talent for gathering the right people to boost his success quotient. Complementing that talent is his important ability to motivate those same people, cultivate their family sense of belonging, provide an environment conducive to productivity, and instill in each one a feeling of valued appreciation. That can be a daunting list for most people, but it’s also a tried-and-true path to success.
Henderson attended college at SMU in Dallas on a football scholarship, earning degrees in media management and history.
“That’s when I started my first business,” he said. “It was a screen-printing venture. We kept it for 10-years and it was a tremendous success, printing as many as 50,000 T-shirts per day.”
It was nine years ago when Henderson married Katie, who is as work-driven as he is.
“She’s involved in tech sales,” he explained. “We moved to the San Francisco Bay area because of her job, which is when I took on a Jersey Mike’s Subs franchise territory, running eight locations.” Included in their family mix are four-year-old son Jack and 10-month-old daughter Mary Katherine.
The Hendersons returned to Lantana in 2020. Jersey Mike’s was in the rear view mirror. Jeff began researching, studying, and racking up hours of legwork. What could he do?
His search was a bit different this time. His angle tilted in a new direction. In the back of his mind, he was looking for a business in which he could eventually retire. His confidence level, based on a string of successes in a variety of industries, was high.
“My dad was a football coach, and he instilled in me a steady work ethic,” he explained. “I watched him go to work every day and put in whatever time and effort were needed for success.
“Starting and building something new excites me. I love team camaraderie and making people feel valued. I’m very people-oriented, and I believe communication is critical for everything you do.”
Henderson once had his own custom closet and “it became my favorite room in the house,” he chuckled. “I found out Closet Factory was looking for someone with my skills for a franchise in the DFW area and its 8-million people.
“I studied and asked questions. The company started 37-years ago in California. It has nearly 60 locations, with franchise owners remaining in place for 17-years on average.
“We opened our Grapevine factory in January 2021. I knew, going in, that I wanted solid communication throughout the company. I wanted superior customer service, and I wanted happy, fulfilled employees because they’re the ones who cultivate happy customers. John Alexander, my partner, was a customer from one of my other businesses.
“We have our individual definition of ‘custom,’ and it sets us apart from others in the industry. Yes, other companies are custom in terms of configuration and overall design, but they still have set widths, lengths, etc. for items such as drawers, for example. With us, everything we sell is custom from the ground up. Another company might install 26” wide drawers because that’s their standard. We may measure that same space and discover we can give you another inch, so we make the drawers 27” wide. It’s not a problem because of our on-site factory here in DFW.
“We touch every room in your house from closets, pantries, garages, wall beds to wine bars, and entertainment centers. We call ourselves the storage authority because we offer much more than just closets. We want the entire process seamless for the customer, which is why the same designer stays with the customer from the beginning until the final sign-off on the project’s green sheet. As a result, a large portion of our business is repeat and referral.”
Henderson, like many other businesses, discovered a silver lining during COVID-19. “People were locked in their homes, and they noticed things they needed and wanted,” he said. “We are growing so fast, and our Google reviews are incredible. We’re doubling our growth from last year and, to me, that growth goes back to those happy, valued employees. I may start the business but they’re the ones who make it succeed. We opened with 10 employees and now have nearly 50. 75-percent of them were recruited by other employees. I’m proud of that.”