Bahrain’s first self-storage facility, A2D Storage, started more than two years ago by three female entrepreneurs, is thriving in the community of A’ali. Dalal Bucheery, Doa'a Essa Abdul Wahab and Alia Murad were close friends who had previously worked together when they recognized an untapped market for storage. The three partners had respective backgrounds in accounting, business management and marketing, and quality systems auditing, and all of them were having trouble finding someplace to store their excess personal property.
“We are all married with children,” Bucheery said. “And we find that things accumulate in a matter of months! In fact, throughout their life, people amass an amazing quantity of objects. The problem arises when they don’t have enough space in their home, but at the same time, they are reluctant to part with items.”
Eyeing a business opportunity to fill this void, the women conducted a feasibility study and visited self-storage facilities in Dubai. Their research in Bahrain revealed a promising market for the business model, in part because of a large number of expatriates, foreign workers and students who were familiar with self-storage services.
Investing about $212,000 of their own money and securing bank financing, the partners launched A2D in December 2010 in A’ali, a residential area close to a school district. Unlike other storage facilities in the region that operate in remote areas or industrial complexes, A2D opened near a major highway and today serves residential and commercial customers, and offers records storage services.
The facility offers 44 units ranging from 66 to 130 square feet. Each unit has adjustable and portable partitions enabling customers to expand or contract the space as needed. Units are also equipped with individual fire extinguishers and a fire sprinkler. Customers have 24-hour access to the facility.
Despite a learning curve for the native Bahraini population, the company has reached local customers through marketing brochures, meeting with local organizations and even appearing on television. Being three women in an industry and region dominated by men has not been much of a challenge, the partners said.
Encouraged by its success, A2D has met with other self-storage companies in the region to discuss collaborative opportunities that could lead to expansion.