[A guest blog spot by ISS Managing Editor Elaine Foxwell.]
This is my fifth year working on the Inside Self-Storage U.K./Europe supplement magazine, and I've noticed a change. In the past, many articles originated from the United Kingdom, where the industry is about 16 years old and well-received. This year, though, we take a veritable tour of Europe as more stories come from new areas.
The Federation of European Self Storage Associations (FEDESSA) estimates there are 1,270 facilities in EU countries. OK, that may not appear to be very many compared to the 50,000 or more found in North America. But considering the storage concept is new to Europe and being introduced to many cultures where acquisitiveness is a budding art, that number seems pretty impressive.
With apologies to John Soule who first printed the words Go west, young man in The Terre Haute Express in 1851, the cry seems to be Go east, young storage company! And east is where the industry is going. KeySpace has opened the first Russian facility in Moscow. And heading south, the industry en España is booming. The expansion of Bluespace self-storage is helping to propel the country to fourth place, according to figures compiled by FEDESSA.
But without money, growth stagnates. Good news there! Banks, financial institutions and venture capitalists are recognizing self-storage as a profitable sub-sector of the European real estate market. So funds to build or expand are becoming increasingly easier to find.
I regret I dont have my fathers talent for languageshe spoke five in addition to the Queens English. If I did, Id be bold enough to offer headlines in French, German and Russian. Oh, well ... I'm eternally grateful that the majority of European business professionals learns English as a matter of course.
In a few weeks, our hot new U./K.Europe issue will be in the hands of industry colleagues across the pond and available for viewing at www.issinternational.com. I hope you enjoy it, and learn a few new things too. Operators and owners everywhere can be assured that self-storage in the Old World is definitely strong and growing. And perhaps next year I 'll pay a visit to my homeland and to view one of these stores in action!