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Using Eye-Catching Themes to Propel Self-Storage Design

By Amy Campbell Comments
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Racecars. A barn. Firefighters. While these concepts may seem like they have nothing in common, they’re all being used in a unique way to create an eye-catching, memorable design for a self-storage facility. Going beyond colored doors, attractive architecture and new construction materials, a handful of owners and developers are tapping into a central theme to create a distinct product in busy markets.

The concept might be likened by some to basic branding, but it’s more complex. While some operators keep it modest—think a surf theme at a coastal location—others are pushing their design to a whole new level. Here are three examples of themes that have propelled operators to self-storage success.

The Need for Speed in California

I-5 Self Storage in Tustin, Calif., welcomes customers with a theme that proudly celebrates the spirit of motorsports and classic cars. Owner and developer Randy Scott Wong worked in various aspects of the motorcycle industry and always had a deep love for anything on wheels. “I know that I am not alone in this passion, so I thought, why not share it? My desire was to broadly appeal and create visual interest equally for men, women and children of all ages. To do this, I drew inspiration from a wide range of motorsports influence,” says Wong, who has a background in graphic and visual arts.

I-5 Self Storage in Tustin, Calif.***Wong’s vision is evident both inside and out, from the highway-themed signage on the facility exterior, to the real carbon fiber in the front office desk, to the polished diamond plating throughout the property. Racing flags are displayed above customer workstations, and a checkered-flag pattern on the asphalt marks the facility’s entrance.

“Customers will always remember a visit to I-5 Self Storage. The strategic use of colors and names helps serve functional purposes, such as helping them easily locate their storage units, as well as emotional triggers when they see the care and enthusiasm that permeates all aspects of our unique, award-winning facility,” Wong says. “Equally important, our friendly staff enjoys embracing the theme and understands how much our customers care about their belongings, their vehicles and the overall storage experience.”

Barn Raising in the Midwest

Moove In Self Storage, Quarryville, Pa.***The barn-style front office found at several Moove In Self Storage facilities has become a literal representation of the operator’s unique brand in the Midwest. Founded in 1997 by The Gilliland Family, the company chose its theme and name based on its history of raising registered Holstein cows. Although the Gillilands exited the cow-raising industry in the 1980s, the theme seemed an obvious choice when they built their first self-storage facility in 1997 in the village of Bald Eagle near Tyrone, Pa.

Today, Moove In has 17 facilities in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania as well as one under development. Many of the properties feature the barn-style office, complete with cow weather vanes. The interior incorporates steel sheeting for the counters, barn lights and various décor with “cow spots.” Even the company’s moving trucks carry the animal-inspired theme.

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