Father/Son-Operated Self-Storage Business Uses Incubator Offices to Expand

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A Mini Flex Storage, a father/son operated self-storage business in Montgomery, Ala., recently turned a negative zoning issue into a positive business opportunity. Owner Doug Isaacson had hoped to expand the storage business on Troy Highway to a nearby lot, but the land was not zoned for self-storage. Instead, Isaacson and his son, Eric, opted to create a 12-office business incubator for startup companies.

The 200-square-foot offices are climate-controlled, with access to self-storage behind them if the fledgling companies need the extra space. The Isaacsons also offer mail receiving, shipping with FedEx and DHL, truck rental, and packing supplies through the self-storage office. Businesses have 24-hour access to their office space, Internet and utilities. The spaces rent on a month-to-month basis.

The setup has been popular, with most of the dozen offices renting quickly and easy to fill after some businesses have left the facility, the Isaacsons said.

A veteran business owner who has operated a mobile-home park, solar company and other ventures, Doug Isaacson said he tries to mentor the aspiring business owners who rent space. He purchased the self-storage facility in 2000. Originally built with 97 units, it now comprises 785. The Isaacsons also said the facility operates the largest Penske truck-rental dealership in the state.

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