According to public media, self-storage is a pretty nasty industry. We are harborers of crime and drugs; we represent a gluttonuous society; we're ugly to look at; we toss or sell customers' goods without provocation; we don't guarantee the security of stored belongings ... The list goes on. Rarely are we celebrated as the hero of anything, so it was really nice to read on Monday that we are "fighting the good fight" to keep Florida boaters on the water.
An article in the Port Charlotte, Fla., Sun-Herald featured an interview with Richard and Patricia Bossey, owners of All American Covered Boat Storage. Ten years ago, the couple was already running a self-storage facility when they decied to tap the potential of the burgeoning boater market. They purchased 11.5 acres of commercial property behind their facility in South Gulf Cove, near the Charlotte Harbor.
In the past decade, they've upgraded their operation from catering to mostly boats on trailers and motor homes to include a 35-ton marine-travel lift machine, 52 large military airplane hangars, a 25-ton hydraulic trailer, 350 feet of lay-along dockage, a large boat ramp and hauling well, three trucks, thousands of boat-jack stands, and other necessary equipment for storing a multitude of boats. According to the article, they have the ability to haul vessels up to 50 feet and 35 tons. Things went so well, they sold their self-storage site in 2003 to focus on their bursting boat business.
How does this make storage a hero? As many of you already know, boat owners are often restricted from storing their babies at home by community codes and homeowners' association bylaws. In addition, marinas have become increasingly crowded and expensivewhen they're not being thrashed by hurricanes or "taxed and insured out of business."
What's your average water-toy owner to do? He needs safe, accessible, affordable, reliable storage. The self-storage industrywith a bit of careful planning and modest investmentcan provide it in spades. No, you don't have to invest in all the bells and whistles like the Bosseys. Most renters won't require it. But if you have the resources and inclination, it's a great way to ride a righteous wave to greater profit, brah. Woah.
If you'd like to read more about this heroic ancillary opportunity, we published a couple of really good articles on the topic in our October 2006 issue. Check out these links: