Vault: A room or compartment for the safekeeping of valuables
At Pacific Highway Storage in San Diego, we have a separate storage area we call the Vault. It comprises 2,051 square feet of rentable space behind an eight-foot steel door. It includes units ranging in size from 1.5-by-4 to 8-by-14, and all units have ceiling heights of approximately 8.5 feet and carpeted floors. The entire area is always air-conditioned at an average of 65 degrees, which is perfect for items that can’t take the stress of temperature fluctuations.
One of the hallmarks of the Vault is its security. To access his unit, a tenant must walk through the office and enter an eight-digit code to open the reinforced Vault door. Then we use a double-keyed system like a bank does for safety-deposit boxes. We follow the tenant to his unit and unlock our own lock on his individual door, and then he unlocks his own lock to open the space.
This unique storage area is great for storing specialty items such as art, collectables, documents, photos or negatives, weapons, and anything that needs high security or cool, stable temperatures.
The Vault’s multi-layer security makes it attractive to doctor and dentist offices, but other businesses can also benefit. Many companies have years of records they'd rather not store onsite. Ten years of documents can fill a lot of boxes!
While there are companies that specialize in document storage and offer pickup, delivery and shredding services, this option can be expensive for a small business. A secure, climate-controlled storage unit is a more cost-effective solution.
Oil and acrylic paintings are fragile and must be stored in the right conditions. Heat can soften the paint and cause it to separate from the canvas or stick to whatever it touches. This could ruin or completely devalue a piece of art. Keeping it in a stable, air-conditioned unit keeps it secure and intact.
The security and consistent temperatures of a Vault unit are great for weapon collectors. If you've ever had guns, you know they’ll rust if kept in the wrong conditions.
We remind tenants to always clean and lubricate the exterior of any weapon before storing it. Also, they should never store guns in fabric or leather cases, or in the original cardboard box. These elements will attract moisture, which causes rust. Rather, guns should be stored in a case that allows for plenty of air circulation. It’s important to note that ammunition is prohibited from being stored in the unit.
For many people, the words “photo storage” are synonymous with “the cloud.” For those of us who are of a certain age, however, the term has a very different meaning! As a genealogist, I've dealt with many old and crumbling photos that are so fragile that I worry they’ll disintegrate in my hands. It's a byproduct of being stored in old wooden trunks, cardboard boxes and overheated attics for 50 or more years.
If customers are storing old photos or negatives, they should first organize and label them with archival, acid-free labels. Photos should also be placed in archival, acid-free boxes (after scanning them to the “cloud” for posterity, of course).
Vault storage is also great for personal collections, such as action figures, antique toys, books, paper ephemera and anything else that warrants specialized care. These items don’t need to be part of an expensive or expansive collection, either. Our renters store items in the Vault because they believe their regular household items are worth protecting, and they’re willing to pay more to keep them safe.
Vault storage can be a valuable addition to your self-storage facility. Because we charge more for these spaces, we attract tenants with disposable income who want to protect their precious items. The service also draws businesses looking to store documents in a convenient, secure setting. Both types of tenants are long-term, less troublesome and more likely to be on autopay, which eliminates the need for monthly collection calls.
Plus, this add-on service opens new marketing avenues. I market our facility to gun stores, lawyers, medical professionals and more. Once you get them in the door for one type of storage, they automatically think of you for traditional storage as well.
I've only touched on a few benefits of vault-style storage. You’re only limited by your imagination of what can be stored in this secure, stable, air-conditioned environment.
Kris Fetter is the operations manager for Pacific Highway Storage in San Diego. A California native, she served in the U.S. Navy and has worn many customer-service-related hats, including those of military police, vendor, dry-cleaner, security guard, administrative assistant and assistant teacher. She entered the self-storage industry four years ago. To reach her, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.selfstoragesd.com.