Anthony Vidergauz | Immigrant Turns $5,000 into $300M/year Business – with Former CEO of California Closets


Knowing when to buy and sell a company is the subject of countless books. Most people hope to either buy or sell at the right time.

This week’s guest did both.

Anthony Vidergauz is CEO of The Paradise Group, which advises franchises in their operations, leadership development, and mentoring. He is also the former Owner and CEO of California Closets, a company he turned around from a failing business to one that had over $300 million in revenue franchise-wide. 

There were a lot of twists and turns on the way to that success, including immigrating to America from South Africa, and he will give all of the interesting details. 

In this episode, Anthony joins John to talk about how he moved to America, buying and turning around an unprofitable company, and what made him decide to sell. 

In this episode, we also talk about:

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  • How Anthony Came to Live in America
  • Anthony’s Time as a Lawyer
  • The Immigration Experience
  • Working with California Closets and How Anthony Developed Such a Unique Business
  • Creating Layered Revenue Streams by Supplying the Materials to Franchisees
  • The Story of How Anthony Came to Purchase California Closets
  • The Risks of Buying an Unprofitable Company and How Anthony Turned it Around
  • Selling the Company and Remaining on to Run it
  • The Clause in His Agreement that Caused Him to Agree to Sell
  • What Anthony is Working on Now
  • Who Anthony Thanks for His Success

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

Today’s episode is sponsored by Rise25 Media, the done-for-you lead generation service to get you a steady flow of new leads, prospects, referral partners and strategic partners coming in the door every month, month after month.

Rise25 Media was created by myself and my business partner, Dr. Jeremy Weisz, and is part of our mission to help connect more entrepreneurs with their ideal prospects and referral partners.

We do this through lead generation and proactive outreach, and we do this through our done for you podcast service, which is the #1 thing I’ve done in my business and life.

To learn more, book a call with us here.

Check out Rise25 to learn more about our done-for-you lead generation and podcast services.

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Episode Transcript

John Corcoran  0:40  

Alright, welcome everybody. My guest on this show is Anthony Vidergauz and Anthony arrived on vacation on his first trip to the United States in 1986 from South Africa, he had just a few thousand bucks, it to his name, any money that he’d collected in his life, and he actually ended up getting an opportunity with the up and coming startup called California closets. It was a closet remodeling business with just a few employees at the time. And he rode that rocket ship and actually eventually became the owner and CEO of the company, eventually building it to over 300 million in revenue. 

So we’re going to share his story. He’s got very little is interesting, you know, we connected locally actually lives locally, locally here in my town, we connected and I heard his story. And, you know, I wasn’t able to find much on his story out there, but he shared it with me over coffee one day, and I thought it would be great to share his story with all of you. But first, if you’re new to this podcast, we don’t share free we don’t charge for this podcast and I published hundreds of episodes and every single one we talk with top business leaders, CEOs, founders and experts and ask them to break down how they built their business and the key relationships with clients, mentors, peers, referral partners, influencers that are the backbone of any business and to share how you can do it too. 

So if you find value in this podcast which I know you will. All we ask is that you subscribe so you receive those downloads automatically you keep on working on improving your relationships, which will help you to grow your business. Also, before we get into this interview This podcast is brought to you by Rise25 media which is a done-for-you agency focused on helping b2b businesses, to get more clients referral partners and strategic partners through done for your podcasts and dump your content marketing. Over 20 years of experience in this area. I firmly believe that podcasting, one of the best things you can do if you do it, right. It’s so many different things business development, networking, client acquisition, referral marketing, it even allows you to have great conversations with people whose work you admire and to learn from them like I’m about to do here with Anthony so if you want to learn more about that, go to Rise25.com 

As I mentioned, my guest Anthony you can the United States in 1986. You were intending to come on vacation. You ended up not going back for a couple of years because you just decided to say obviously was a different immigration climate back then Anthony, but tell us a little A little bit that you come and you visit your mother in law in Los Angeles and you just say,

Anthony Vidergauz  3:05  

Hi, john, a pleasure to be with you. And you’ve actually accurately described what happened. I was in the US with my wife, my first visit to to America, staying with my mother in law, who was living half the time. And we were on a 10 day two week vacation. And about three days before we were due to leave and go back to South Africa. She had a closet sung by the startup company, California closets, and it had been going for a few years but only with a few franchises at the time, and my mother and my wife and I were out probably in Disneyland or wherever came back one afternoon. And my mother in law shepherded us into her bedroom and, and showed us her brand new closets, which at the time, were probably a little marginal the closets we didn’t like So much nicer. I was being a good son in law and told me that I thought they were wonderful. And she proceeded to tell me that she had made an appointment with the founder of the company. Now, just to put some perspective around this there, there were four people in the corporate office. The company was was tiny in those days, and the and the founder was all of 22 years old. And the salesperson or the designer, as we used to call them, who came and sold the closets to my mother in law, was a good friend of the founder. He was hiring his friends at that time. So to set up the appointment was as easy as the salesperson calling a friend, the founder, and saying, I have a customer who wants to introduce a son in law to the company. I think my mother, my mother in law was quite keen to get a daughter to some move to south to the US, given the political problems in South Africa.

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