SPRING HILL — Florida homeowners generally have more stuff than space to put it.
Enter Create More Space, an independent company that designs and manufactures smart and smart-looking custom storage and organizing units for home offices, entertainment areas, closets, even garages.
That doesn't mean all Floridians are hoarders, said co-owner Roy Newman. Rather, space scrunch results from geography (sandy soil and low land elevation that say nay to basements), weather (two-story homes plus full house attics that attract hurricane damage) and land costs (roomy homes require more extensive and pricey residential property).
Newman, 55, gained experience answering space needs with a corporation that aimed to do just that. But customers were asking for alternatives that the cookie-cutter company wasn't offering.
"Customers wanted more choices," he said.
His wife, Susan Newman, opened their first 9,000-square-foot store on Spring Hill Drive in 1997. She listened. She designed spaces to meet customer needs and desires.
Today, the couple owns and operates a 3,100-square-foot show and sales room, with a 6,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that currently employs 10. The staff includes designers, computer-assisted drafters and machine operators.
From start to finish, Create More Space can build an in-home project in three to four weeks.
It starts with a home visit, for a customer wanting to do something with a closet, for instance, at which time Susan Newman measures available space and inventories what's to be hung, shelved or organized.
"Just as there's no such thing as a standard person," said Roy Newman, "there's no such thing as a standard closet."
One woman may consider three pairs of shoes sufficient; another, 90 pairs. One woman may hang her capri pants by the cuff; another might fold them.
After inspection and calculations, Susan Newman, 54, or one of the company's other designers will create a closet plan, then discuss and reconfigure or tweak the design, using her 16 years of on-job experience.
"I don't design for pretty," she said. "I design for functionality."
But showroom examples of her work speak to style as well as practicality.
Much of the company's work revolves around multi-functioning rooms: a home office that doubles as an entertainment/leisure room, a hobby room with fold-away work tables that can be converted to a guest room with a bed folding out from a refined wall cupboard.
In the manufacturing department, prefinished melamine boards serve as the base for all goods.
"Wood warps," Roy Newman pointed out, a concern in the Florida climate.
A $225,000 router-driller with a $50,000 software program cuts the boards according to the computer-generated design.
"We work in inches and fractions of inches," Roy Newman said.
Specialized routing precludes dust-catching seams of boards glued together.
A thermo-foil covering for counters and desktops is shrink-wrapped around surfaces to resemble marble or granite without the need for special care and polishing that the costlier materials require.
Create More Space also has a showroom store at the Villages in Lady Lake, and the Newmans are considering adding a store in the northern Tampa Bay area.
Beth Gray can be reached at [email protected]