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Designing Space for Self-Storage Ancillary Services: Wine Storage, Records Storage, Boat/RV Storage and Retail


Most self-storage operators would agree that offering ancillary products or services on top of their unit rentals can be a great way to grab more market share and increase revenue. While the addition of services such as wine storage, records storage, vehicle storage and retail sales certainly requires planning from an operational standpoint, do you know what you need from a design perspective?

When it comes to designing space for your add-on products and services, you must consider the square footage required, local building restrictions, construction costs, your existing facility layout and more. Following is an overview of things to consider when building out space for ancillary offerings.

Design That Caters to Wine Customers
By Jim Ponti, Central Region Sales Manager, Janus International,

Traditional self-storage and wine storage have proven to make a good marriage, and the basic self-storage operational design caters to wine storage with little additional personnel or operating expenses. However, wine storage requires specific amenities to ensure customers’ wine is safely stored. The basic list includes:

  • A properly insulated and designed perimeter that will prevent air movement and condensation
  • A multi-tiered, high-level security system
  • A properly designed and consistent moisture and temperature-control system (package or custom designed)
  • A temperature- and moisture-level logging system
  • 24-hour access via a safe, dedicated after-hours entrance

Wine-storage lockers can be constructed of exotic woods for a luxurious appeal. (Photo courtesy of Janus International.)It’s best to have dual or redundant temperature- and humidity-control systems so a mechanical backup is always available. Emergency power backup should also be placed very high on the priority list. A truly marketable facility will have all of the above. Remember, even minor variations in temperature can reduce the value of a bottle of wine significantly.

Just as curb appeal matters when renting self-storage units, the interior finish of your wine-storage area should conjure a positive image. With a variety of building choices, take into account your own preferences and the perceived standards of the local market.

Wine lockers can be constructed of many materials, from exotic woods to standard self-storage interior products. A happy medium between wood and steel can be found in a popular product now on the market—French oak wood-grain embossed steel. With an oak-like façade, this system costs slightly more than the plain white metal-locker systems, but has the look of the more high-end custom-wood locker systems. This system is also designed to the facility owner’s specifications and interior dimensions. A variety of locker sizes can be accommodated, including single-, double- and triple-stacked.

Many facilities also include some type of common room that can be used by wine-storage tenants for small gatherings, tastings and meetings. Plan to include wireless Internet access and a wall-mounted TV/monitor that can used as a PC display.

As a final construction detail, try to avoid or minimize halogen and natural lighting in the wine-storage area itself. In addition to the heat from operation, halogen bulbs emit virtually the full spectrum of light, including infrared and ultraviolet. The infrared wavelength will increase the heat load of the area, and the ultraviolet wavelength can damage the wine.

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