Amherst, N.Y.-based real estate investment trust (REIT) Sovran Self Storage Inc., which operates under the brand Uncle Bob's Self Storage, has acquired 75 facilities since the last week of 2010 and plans to acquire more. Fifty-six of those acquisitions occurred in 2011. CEO David L. Rogers discussed company strategy last week at the annual shareholders meetings.
According to a report in the Buffalo News, Sovran's acquisitions engine is being driven by a franchising strategy: single-store "mom-and-pop" operators sign up with Sovran, and Sovran manages their facility for a fee, meanwhile attaching the Uncle Bob's branding to the small operator. The company is looking to expand so it can spread its fixed costs over a wider base of facilities.
“Last year was a boom year for acquisitions,” Rogers told the source. “We’re not forecasting another year like that, by any means, but we’re in the market heavily,” he said. “We’re concentrating on markets where we already have a presence.” Robert J. Attea, the company’s chairman, added company executives are warming to the idea of acquiring stores in the West, which they were reluctant to do in the past.
Sovran has 445 stores branded as Uncle Bob's Self Storage across 26 states, most of which are in the eastern part of the U.S., The company did, however, recently acquire 26 Texas facilities as part of an increased effort to expand westward.