GLENDALE—Entrepreneur, philanthropist, family man and long-time ANCA activist Varant Melkonian will be honored with the ANCA-Western Region Legacy Award at its already sold out Annual Banquet on October 28th at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.
With yards of passion and containers filled of determination, one man discovered how to organize success. Melkonian is recognized and respected in the world of business as an innovator and leader. Continuously, as a business builder, he has demonstrated dexterity for recognizing and creating opportunity. He identifies an unmet need and comes up with a business plan to fill it.
“We are extremely proud to be honoring a dedicated and passionate ANCA advocate who continually energizes us to work harder and advance the ANCA mission on all fronts,” said Nora Hovsepian, ANCA WR Board Co-Chairperson.
Melkonian‘s grandfather, Hagop, moved to Baghdad from Ourfa in 1915 after he lost his parents during the Armenian Genocide at the early age of 10. His father, Melkon was born and raised in Baghdad. His mother, Angel was born in Tal Abied, Syria and raised in Aleppo. Melkon and Angel were blessed with seven children—four boys and three girls. Varant is the fourth child.
Discipline and hard work was instilled by his parents at an early age. At the age of 15, he was happiest working in his family’s successful printing business while going to school. He later pursued a mechanical engineering degree at the Technology University in Baghdad.
In 1977, Melkonian settled in Los Angeles and two years later, along with his brother, founded his first company, Value Mailer Direct Mail Marketing, Inc. Value Mailer grew to service over 7,000 local and national businesses including household names like McDonalds, Subway, American Express and Century 21. He met his wife Hoori Jivalagian in 1986 and wed three years later. As his business life grew, so did his family as Varant and Hoori Melkonian were blessed with three children, Arman, Arlene and Aren. The children, now 18, 16 and 10, respectively, attended Armenian and public schools. Throughout the years, Varant and Hoori have instilled the spirit of giving and belonging to the community in their children.
After 12 years of extensive experience in marketing, sales, operations and manufacturing, Melkonian founded Closet World Inc. in 1990. Melkonian’s success with Closet World was part resilience and determination, part promotional genius and a very big part of a corporate culture that he calls social advancement: making everyone responsible for outcomes and failures and promoting individual and team growth.
Today, Melkonian is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Home Organizers Corporation—the parent company of seven operating subsidiaries and three nationally recognized brand names; Closet World, Closets by Design and Home Closets. Along with its national franchise network and 35 large regional franchises serving 28 US States and Canada, Home Organizers is the largest independent home organizing company in North America. At its peak, his company operated out of 16 corporate facilities and employed over 1,800 people.
Considering all of Melkonian’s varied business goals, it’s not surprising that he has an incredibly hectic schedule. Yet, the unceasingly energetic man deliberately makes time to give back to his community. Bettering the community has been a recurring theme in Melkonian’s life—whether indirectly through setting examples as a pioneering businessman, or directly, through grassroots efforts locally and nationally. As a philanthropist, Melkonian has supported and continues to contribute and support the ANCA as well as many other organizations working for the advancement of the community.
And it doesn’t stop with support and financial contributions. He dedicates his time, resources and knowledge. He has served in leadership roles in many organizations including Homenetmen, The Leadership Consular of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies, Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry and Armenian Relief Society’s United Iraqi Relief Fund. Melkonian has also served as a member of other non-profit organizations such as Kiwanis Club International, The Chamber of Commerce, as well as business and professional associations.
Melkonian doesn’t simply sit on boards or lend his name to charitable causes. He pays attention, does his homework and taps his own creativity to think of ways to go the extra mile. The bottom line of all of Melkonian’s efforts is two-fold. He wants to see change. He wants to improve the community and speak up for the disadvantaged and victimized.
Melkonian has been recognized for his service, commitment and professionalism. In 2005, Closet World was named Business of the Year by the Armenian-American Chamber of Commerce. Later that year, he received the very prestigious “Knight of Cilicia” medal by His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. In 2006, Melkonian was honored as Man of the Year by the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry. In 2010, Melkonian was also honored by the Armenian Cultural Foundation for his ongoing support and contribution. In addition, he has also received awards and commendations from the State of California, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, California State Assembly, California State Board of Equalization, California Department of Insurance, Los Angeles County Sheriffs and the Cities of Los Angeles, Glendale and La Canada Flintridge.
The Melkonian family salutes and congratulates the ANCA-WR board, its chapters, and the thousands of volunteers and supporters.