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Teri L. Lanza,
Vice President

Tony Jones,
Contributing Editor/Store Manager

Amy Campbell,

Condo-Style 'Man Caves': Pockets of Personalized Happiness

By Teri Lanza Comments

There's a room in my home into which I dare not go. It belongs to my husband. A skull and crossbones on the door warns unsuspecting guests of the potential peril that lies beyond. I feel compelled to offer up for signature a liability waiver to those who brave entry; inside they encounter everything from a double-headed mace to a "Dismember Me" zombie plush to a gold-painted trident (from last Halloween's Poseidon costume). Let's not forget the Spanish rapier and robotic skeleton that sings "Born to Be Wild." Add in a few empty Scotch bottles and a massive army of Warhammer miniatures, and you begin to get a sense for what we're dealing with here.

We jokingly refer to this room as my husband's "man cave," but we clearly don't own the market on that coined phrase. A simple Google search will show you the term has its own Wikipedia entry, and there are many online stores devoted to helping men outfit their "mantuary," such as The Man-Cave Store and Man Cave Gifts.

Now there are self-storage builders getting in on the act. Mako Steel is wrapping up phase one (126,000 square feet) for GaragePlus in Payullup, Wash., a provider of private and personalized garage-style "condos." The facility offers up more than just luxury, secure space; it provides a wide range of amenities including a fully furnished clubhouse, a washing station for those "big toys," an RV dump station, restroom and shower facilities, and a lot more. Beyond that, there's a community element involved, a venue where condo owners can share their interests or just hang out. And all the spaces are fully customizable with options such as cabinetry, epoxy flooring and car lifts. It's really quite something.

The concept of storage condos is not new, and yet it hasn't had much opportunity to blossom, either. The economy and real estate market took a dive just as people were beginning to grasp and entertain the idea of owning external storage space, and it stunted the growth of this niche opportunity. In the past, ISS has spurred discussion and debate about rented vs. owned storage through this blog and the magazine. It never appeared that self-storage owners saw condo storage as a threat; but nor were they eager to invest in the development of the product. Perhaps this will some day change.

For now, there's no doubt in my mind that there are "man caves" existing in rented self-storage space all over the country and possibly the world. I love to read the stories on Self-Storage Talk about the unusual uses to which tenants put their units. For example, one manager has a tenant who restores a vintage car in his unit (of which his wife knows nothing). A couple of managers have reported units being used for a romantic trysts (see "The Love Shack"... and Love affair). A man in Singapore uses his unit to store his collection of 300 superhero comics and toys.

What about you? Do you have any man-cave renters at your facility? Anybody out there getting creative with their marketing and appealing to male customers with this angle? Please share your mantuary tales!


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