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Valet Self-Storage Operator SquirrelBox Launches in Denver; Wins Video Contest

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SquirrelBox LLC, a startup business specializing in valet self-storage services, recently launched in Denver and won $20,000 from FirstBank in a video contest for local entrepreneurs in Arizona and Colorado. The valet-storage operator uses an online platform that allows customers to schedule pickup of stored bins and bulky items, and schedule delivery of items back to their homes. It intends to use the winnings to improve its inventory-management system and expand marketing, according to a source.

The FirstBank contest asked participants to submit a 90-second video describing their business and explaining how they would use the prize money. The lender narrowed the field to five Arizona and five Colorado candidates based on the content, creativity and originality of each submission, a source reported. SquirrelBox won the contest after public voting concluded on Facebook last month.

Similar to other valet-style storage operators, SquirrelBox offers by-the-bin storage targeted at residents who don’t have adequate home storage. Items are stored in a secure warehouse outside of Denver, according to the company website. Bins provided at no charge by SquirrelBox can be stored for $7 per box per month, while personal boxes or bulky items, such as golf clubs or skis, can be stored for $15 per item per month.

Launched this year, SquirrelBox is serving about 50 customers, with each storing about five bins per month. Based on those numbers, the amount of warehouse space the company is leasing annually at $6.50 per square foot has room for approximately 200 customers, owner Cameron Smith told a source. “Once we reach those numbers, we’ll make a strategic decision whether to find our own space where we can lease, or to stay where we are and maximize it,” he said.

Thus far, SquirrelBox is luring business from young professionals who live in downtown Denver, college students who need storage during session breaks, and senior citizens in assisted-living facilities. The company refers customers to traditional self-storage facilities if the amount they wish to store is too much for SquirrelBox, and it has received some referrals in return, according to Smith.

The company believes winning a public contest is a good sign for the business and is eyeing potential expansion to Atlanta, Kansas City, Mo.; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle among other cities. “We haven’t taken any outside money, and this gives us some breathing room to expand our marketing efforts and expand the number of customers to maintain a good cash flow and fund future expansion,” Smith told a source.

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