Mini-Storage is a €12.5 million facility in Dublin, Ireland, developed by George Bulman. Inside Self-Storage spoke with Bulman about the growth of the industry and his state-of-the art store.
ISS: Describe the self-storage industry in Ireland.
Bulman: Self-storage in Ireland was practically non-existent a decade ago but the Republic’s property boom has changed all that. First, most new households don’t have a garage or an attic and, second, the massive boom in apartment living has meant householders are literally bursting at the seams.
The boom in this industry is only beginning. In the United Kingdom and United States, self-storage has become huge. The market is in its infancy here, and with Ireland’s changing lifestyles we are certain to follow suit.
Purpose-built self-storage developments are fast dotting the fringes of cities across the country in what is now a multi-million Euro business. However, up until now, facilities have been quite basic.
ISS: What is driving Ireland’s rapid self-storage growth?
Bulman: A lot of people are now renting accommodations or doing house renovations and just need somewhere temporary to store anything from furniture to clothes. Sixty-five percent of all residential self-storage in Ireland is now being booked by females. With the limits of storage in apartments and town houses, we are seeing a lot of householders, women in particular, storing summer items in the winter and vice versa in the summer.
ISS: Tell us about your newest storage development, Mini Storage in Dublin.
Bulman: We knew we needed to raise the bar when it came to mini-storage facilities in Ireland. We invested €12.5 million in this custom-built facility. It is Dublin’s first 24-hour drive-through store, and the first purpose-built storage facility in the country.
The five-floor, 220,000-square-foot building has 160,000 lettable square feet with more than 1,900 storage units ranging from 1 square meter up to 100 square meters. Since it is 10 minutes from Dublin Airport, just off Ireland’s busiest motorway, the M50, it is ideally situated for residential and commercial users.
ISS: What makes Mini Storage unique?
Bulman: The impression of self-storage facilities has been one of the old “lock-up” mentalities but this new approach is changing that. We used an interior architect to design the reception area, children’s play area and other family friendly amenities. All parking is under cover with a full set of trolleys and lifts to all five floors.
This facility was built to accommodate the large numbers of female customers, and we’ve invested heavily in a female-friendly reception area with a coffee dock and separate children’s play area. It has a shopping center feel about it—and that’s very deliberate.
The key for us is to be the most modern, secure facility, and we are constantly innovating to continue to be the market leaders. For example, we have just installed personal wine cellars. We recognize that no facility existed like this so we wanted to be the first.
ISS: What other factors do customers want?
Bulman: Security and flexibility are huge factors that our customers look for. All our storage facilities—we have two more in Dublin and two in Cork—are security-code accessed 24 hours a day.
ISS: What types of items are being stored?
Bulman: The variety is huge. Our female clients tend to have an emotional attachment to an item. It is not just an object to them. It is a good memory, a part of a fantastic skiing holiday with the girls, a coffee table given by their late grandmother, old toys from their firstborn child, now all grown up.
In addition, our security system draws the commercial side of the market. Self-employed workers don’t like storing valuable equipment where it’s either not secure or difficult to access, but with 24-hour access. Customers can drive up, enter their security code, drive straight to their storage unit and unload or load. The interior drive-through can accommodate vans up to 3.35 meters tall.
ISS: Tell us about your company, Mini Storage.
Bulman: Mini Storage was established in 1991 in Cork. We built a reputation for quality and excellence over the years by offering a wide range of storage solutions to our customers. Our philosophy is about making it easier for customers to pack and store their belongings in a secure environment at affordable prices.
Mini Storage has just recently been accredited with ISO 9001:2000 quality standard. It is the first self-storage facility to achieve this accreditation in Ireland and one of the few in Europe and the United Kingdom to have this qualification.
For more information, visit www.ministorage.ie.
Mini Storage, Dublin: Facts and Figures
- €12.5 million investment
- Five-story purpose-built building
- Total 220,000 square feet
- 160,000 lettable square feet
- 1,900 units
- 24-hour security-code access
- Drive-through facility accommodates vehicles up to 3.35 meters tall
- Indoor off-loading area
- Coffee dock and children’s play area
- Customized wine storage
- ISO 9001:2000 quality standard