When it's time to leave the nest
Esther Luongo Psarakis, owner of food company Taste of Crete, transitioned away from her home office last month. In 2004, she launched a Greek olive oil importing business from the basement of her Bridgewater, N.J., home.
As business grew, she needed to hire workers. "I started to add people to work with me, and that became a problem because my basement isn't big," she says. And when holiday orders came in, her basement, living room and family room overflowed with olive oils, honey, jam and cookies.
"My home was being taken over by the business," she says. "This is a split-level house … it's not gracious digs."
Adding to the trouble: customers who thought she sold goods from her home would Google her address and unexpectedly show up on her doorstep. "I had people ringing the doorbell — total strangers coming to the house," Luongo Psarakis says.
Finally, she had enough and bought a small store in Hillsborough, N.J. The grand opening was Sept. 19.
She says the move has improved her life — and her fashion sense. "I would roll out of my bed and roll to my desk," at home, she says. "You're in your sweats and slippers, and sometimes you get sloppy with that."
And an unexpected development occurred: Her family misses her and her sometimes-chaotic work life.
"They couldn't wait to get rid of me, saying, 'Oh, you're taking up so much space in the basement,' " she says. "But now they miss me."