Video: High-End Car Storage Discussion Begins on Self-Storage Talk
Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.
By: John Carlisle
Posted on: 11/29/2011



 

Many great ideas are born on Self-Storage Talk, the largest online community in the industry. Before many investors and developers take a risk on an endeavor, they'll float an idea on SST to see if others have successfully implemented a concept. Enterprising owners and developers are always looking for new ways to expand their businesses, and thanks to a recent thread started by member dakselfstorage, they have another idea.

Dakselfstorage shared a TV segment from featuring Chanhassen, Minn.-based Automotorplex, a "car condo" vehicle-storage complex in the Minneapolis metropolitan area. Next to a golf course, the facility is glorified vehicle storage with an upscale twist. High-tech garages allow car guys (and gals) to have a true automotive "man cave" (pardon the gender-specific term) to wrench on cars. Everything from flashy Italian sports cars to antiques and classic American muscle cars call Automotorplex home. Unlike self-storage, tenants actually can stay overnight with their beloved autos. In fact, some even make weekend retreats to the facility as opposed to alternatives such as camping or resorts. As the facility owner says in the interview, "We're not just selling space; we're selling the experience."

Make no mistake: This idea goes way beyond traditional self-storage. And the concept will only work with an affluent, car-loving niche audience. But in this suburb of the Twin Cities, not Beverly Hills or the Hamptons, Automotorplex is enjoying tremendous success. How much does the business charge its tenants? The report doesn't say, but I imagine it's a bit higher than what your facilities are charging for typical 10-by-10 units.

SST posters are responding with mixed sentiments, essentially saying, "Wow, this is cool, but it's much different from what we offer or would ever offer." That's true, and one glorious vehicle condo doesn't signal a trend, but it should get people thinking about the quality of service, security and amenities they offer to vehicle-storage customers.

With a few exceptions, such as rare family jewels and heirlooms or valuable collectibles, vehicles are the most precious items placed under the care of self-storage facilities, and customers will demand they be treated as such. Whether space is indoor or outdoor, do you provide everything your vehicle tenants will need? Do they have a clean space to work if they're using a unit to do minor maintenance? Are areas well-lit and secured by lights, cameras, and gates or locks? Cars are a big deal to tenants who store them, and if you treat cars like they're a big deal, it follows that you can reap a big benefit. Last, for those risk-taking investors out there, it's possible Automotorplex's success could be duplicated elsewhere.

If you're not a forum member yet and you want to jump in on the discussion about this unique vehicle-storage concept or any other industry-related topics, visit www.selfstoragetalk.com and click "register." Registering a username is free, takes only a few minutes, and will enable you to start posting.