But while Rose City passed the initial checkpoints for determining if wine storage would be a good fit for his market, a few factors affected the growth of his business. Despite all of the facility’s perks, pre-existing competition impacted his ability to rent wine-storage space.
“Unless you’re the first guy in your market with wine storage, it’s going to be a slow rental process,” says McClish, who’s seen about a 20 percent annual occupancy increase since the doors opened two years ago. He attributes much of the success to his management team’s aggressive marketing efforts. McClish created a unique website to market his wine storage, and his staff spends 20 percent of their week to promoting the service.
McClish also found that not all collectors are open to storing wine in a traditional storage facility. There was a pre-existing mindset that wine needed to be stored in a more upscale environment. His solution: The installation of French Oak-laminated wine lockers with a wood-like façade, which provide a more discerning visual appeal.
The wine-storage customer base at Rose City is expanding, although it's sometimes in an unexpected manner, McClish says. A wine distributor recently toured the facility's accommodations. After viewing the standard self-storage units in the basement, he determined they held the correct temperature for wine storage and opted to rent a regular 10-by-10 space rather than pay for the more expensive wine storage, which can cost $20 to $25 more per square foot. “I didn’t see that one coming,” laughs McClish, “but I’m happy to have the rentals.”
Adding wine storage to an existing self-storage facility can bring in new customers and higher revenue per square foot than traditional self-storage. However, operators must first evaluate whether the profit center is ideal for their location, then be prepared to aggressively market the service. While wine storage continues to be a niche market, it can be well worth pursuing given the right demographics.
Amy Fuhlman manages the marketing communications programs for Janus International, a manufacturer of self-storage doors, hallway systems and building components. For more information, visit www.janusintl.com.