Most state self-storage associations offer thorough rental contracts that can be adapted by facility operators in their state. Many are now adding language that will cover ancillary services such as wine storage. The liabilities associated with wine storage need to be addressed within your rental agreement.
Scott Zucker, an industry attorney with the law firm Weissman Zucker Euster Morochnik PC of Atlanta, suggests that most contracts that address wine storage will include language similar to the following. But be sure to contact your legal representative before moving forward, as the language requirements varies by state.
Non-liability of owner. Owner shall not be liable for damages or injury to persons or property resulting from failure to keep the wine storage unit or facility under repair, or due to neglect of Occupant or other wine storage occupants or by any other person or entity. No representations are herein made that the leased unit or facility is fire, flood, mechanical failure or theft proof. In the event that Occupant shall request that Owner hold wine deliveries until Occupant can secure and store said deliveries, the Occupant likewise agrees to hold Owner harmless from any claims arising from the loss or damage to said deliveries.
Power to space. Electricity such as presently exists shall be furnished to the facility. Owner does not guarantee or warrant that the temperature of the facility will remain constant, only that the Owner will endeavor to limit temperature extremes in the facility through air conditioning and heating devices. However, should power be interrupted to the facility, Occupant hereby releases Owner from any loss or damage to the wine stored at the facility arising from said loss of electricity or power.
Meeting Customers’ Needs
Self-storage and wine-storage customers are looking for a conveniently located and properly managed facility where their belongings will be safe and the interior environment will preserve their stored goods. But the wine collector is looking for a little more. The self-storage customer will carefully scrutinize the pricing and then consider the list of facility amenities. The wine-storage customer, on the other hand, will analyze the amenities, and if the facility has what is necessary, he will generally pay the price. This “money is no object” mindset is more than welcome to today’s facility manager.
The facility owner and manager will need to be more active with local wine retailers, collectors and associations to spread the word about this unique service. If your operation and personnel are at service and quality minimums, you can expect a much slower leaseup and limited success in most markets. Just like self-storage, facilities that have the right mix of price (generally the highest), product and people are and always will be the market leaders. With proper measures, wine storage can bring a significant level of revenue to your storage facility.
Jim Ponti is the central region sales manager for Janus International, a supplier of self-storage doors and building components. The Temple, Ga.-based company provides a full line of self-storage doors, hallway components, portable storage and mezzanine systems. For more information, call 770.562.2850; visit www.janusintl.com.