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Case Study: Green Storage of Sweden Trailblazes an Automated Self-Storage Model in the Nordic Market

Article-Case Study: Green Storage of Sweden Trailblazes an Automated Self-Storage Model in the Nordic Market

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When self-storage operator Green Storage launched in Sweden four years ago, its leadership team believed automation could be a difference-maker in attracting and connecting with customers. Read how remote management has spurred the company to grow to more than 40 locations, with a goal of dominating the Nordic market.

Green Storage, a Sweden-based self-storage business that opened its first facility in the Västberga district of Stockholm in 2019 and now has more than 40 locations, became a trailblazer in the European market by investing in technology, correctly betting that customers would warm to the benefits of automated conveniences. In fact, the company credits its entrepreneurial vision with its rapid growth.

The Green Storage leadership team, including Stefan Nilsson, managing director, and Mats Steijner, operations manager, made the decision to implement the latest access-control and business-management systems to run their sites remotely from day one. “Five years ago, I got to start a portfolio with an empty sheet. I looked at the emerging technology in terms of automation and online sales and thought this could transform the industry,” Nilsson says. “When developing Green Storage, we opted for the latest automation technology to be able to future-proof the business. Looking at how customers’ purchasing patterns were changing and more business was being completed online, it seemed like the right thing to do.”

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Green Storage principals Stefan Nilsson (left) and Mats Steijner

The operator uses a digital business model in which customers book and pay for their units via a user-friendly website and then access their unit using a digital key and smart lock through a mobile app. All facilities in the portfolio are remotely managed, though support staff are available to travel to sites if necessary. The company’s remote management system offers many benefits including easy access to operational data and the ability to digitally overlock units in cases of non-payment. It has enabled Green Storage to carefully manage its operational efficiency.

The concept has also proven popular with self-storage customers who value the streamlined convenience of online bookings and almost instant access to their digital key, which they can share with friends, family or colleagues. Its quick success allowed Green Storage to pursue organic growth, which helped it expand quickly across Greater Stockholm. This also caught the eye of potential investors.

A Growing Footprint

In late 2021, Nuveen Real Estate, an American asset manager and subsidiary of financial-planning firm TIAA Investments, entered the European self-storage sector by purchasing a majority interest in the 14 properties Green Storage had at the time, plus a 93% stake in 24Storage, then Sweden’s second-largest self-storage operator, with 26 locations and four properties under development. Nilsson was appointed managing director of this joint entity in 2022.

This year, all 24Storage sites are being rebranded under the Green Storage name and retrofitted with the same automated controls. “We are in the middle of consolidating 24Storage into Green Storage, and a lot of work is being done to create a truly integrated platform,” says Nilsson. “As a self-storage business, we are fully committed to remotely managed stores with contactless move-ins. We are modern and smart, which seems to appeal to customers.”

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A Green Storage tenant using a digital key

“Green Storage is a company that has perfected the automated self-storage model by deploying the latest technology to its full potential,” says Colin Jeromson, managing director of Janus International Europe, an affiliate of Janus International Group, a global manufacturer and supplier of self-storage building solutions and access-control technology. “In doing so, Green Storage manages to both delight customers and drive significant business efficiencies.”

As a result, Green Storage has grown into one of Europe’s largest self-storage operators. The company now has 42 automated sites with more than 21,000 units featuring its advanced digital-lock and business-management system. In addition to converting the former 24Storage locations to the same digital model, the company intends to fast-track its growth by operating automated properties across the Nordic region.

Linn Karppinen is senior marketing manager for Janus International Europe, an affiliate of Janus International Group, a global provider of self-storage doors and hallway systems, relocatable storage units, facility-automation solutions, and restoration services. To reach her, call 44 (0) 208 7444401 or email [email protected].

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