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A Slice of the Upper Crust Service providers find a niche offering convenience and class.

By Nichole L. Torres

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Moving was once all the same--you tossed your stuff into cardboard boxes, paid burly guys to move it, and if you had breakables, hoped for the best. Ron Merrill, however, is changing all that with C&M Moving and Storage. Using what he calls "white-glove movers," his Houston-based company offers specialty moving services to customers with prized artwork and ultra-chic furniture. With interior designers in charge of handling and moving their clients' expensive décor, Merrill's company has turned the once-standard moving process into a high-end, resort-style experience.

"Luxury consumers are not lacking in material goods, and they also frequently look [for] what I call 'luxury experiences,'" notes Pam Danziger, founder of Unity Marketing, a Stevens, Pennsylvania-based marketing company specializing in the luxury demographic. That means when it comes to the same services that the average Joe might use--from food delivery to manicures to staffing services--some consumers are willing to pay first-class all the way.

But don't simply slap a tux on your delivery guy or charge more for your average food and call it luxury--Danziger notes that these consumers are highly value-conscious. If you're going to charge more for your services, they better be worth more. Merrill, for instance, offers clients an interactive CD-ROM to help them plan their move down to the smallest antique table. C&M also does refinishing and cleaning, and even installs draperies and art. Since starting in 1999, "we've always been thinking of new [services] we can [offer]," Merrill says. And the 39-year-old considers his well-trained employees the key to the whole white-glove experience--he has retained much of his staff for over five years.

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