Talking With MiniCo Founder Hardy Good: A Self-Storage Veteran Reflects on His Career and the Industry, and Looks Forward to Asia Endeavors

Inside Self-Storage speaks with Hardy Good, founder of MiniCo Inc., about his humble roots, his progression through the self-storage industry, MiniCo's success, and his future plans.

August 5, 2010

5 Min Read
Talking With MiniCo Founder Hardy Good: A Self-Storage Veteran Reflects on His Career and the Industry, and Looks Forward to

Born and reared on a farm near Columbus, Ohio, Hardy Good’s winding career path took him far from his humble roots. After graduating from Ohio State University in 1965 with a degree in business administration, Good briefly entered the world of retail, working in menswear, sales and purchasing, and merchandising and management.

He then detoured briefly into the political realm, working in the Ohio State Treasurer’s Office before moving to Phoenix in 1965. It was there Good found his true calling and embarked on a long and successful career in the self-storage industry. He launched Mini Storage Insurance Corp. in 1974 and a publishing division five years after. The company later became MiniCo Inc.

In May, Good sold MiniCo’s insurance and publishing divisions to Aran Insurance Services Group, a full-service general agency and underwriter. Good will assist in the transition and serve as a special advisor to the MiniCo Insurance Agency LLC’s board of directors.

Inside Self-Storage recently caught up with Good to talk about MiniCo’s beginnings, the challenges the self-storage industry faces today, and his next great adventure.

Tell us about MiniCo’s early years.

There were three original incorporators: a self-storage developer, an insurance professional and me. I agreed to do all the work. The original focus and exclusive product was Customer Storage Insurance, an insurance policy that provided protection for self-storage tenants’ property.

While driving around the United States inspecting hundreds of facilities, we learned a lot about self-storage operations and expanded our products to meet the needs of our customers. First was a property and liability insurance package we called MiniPak. Then we helped develop a special policy exclusively for self-storage risks. In 1979, we began publishing Mini-Storage Messenger magazine as “the voice of the self-storage industry.” Mini Storage Security Co. was created as a platform for distribution of products for safety, security and loss control. The core business was padlocks and other products, ultimately manufactured by us with joint-venture partnerships in mainland China. We sold the products-distribution business in 2004.

There were also a couple of failed entrepreneurial endeavors, including “Touchcode 2000,” a semi-high-tech electronic access-control system.  There are still some storage facilities in America secured by that system.

Overall, we’ve had far more victories than defeats. Numerous corporations merged to form MiniCo Inc. circa 1980, and I became the proud, happy, 100 percent shareholder in 1985. 

In 1975, I was a founding charter member of the Self Storage Association (SSA). Over the years, the SSA endorsed, sponsored and recommended our insurance programs for association members, and Mini-Storage Messenger was the official publication of the SSA for many years before the association launched a competing magazine. In 2005, it was a distinct pleasure and honor to be one of the inaugural inductees in the SSA’s Self-Storage Hall of Fame!

How has the self-storage industry evolved over the years?

While spreading worldwide, self-storage has evolved in America dramatically. Recent Macroeconomic conditions have provided the first industry “no-growth” setback since the U.S. savings and loan crisis in the 1980s.  Wall Street financing and more competition has brought on a new level of management, professionalism, locations, designs and technology.

Architectural improvements, metal-building manufacturing and construction refinements along with more professional marketing and upgraded technology and management methods have afforded great increases in self-storage product, promotions, processes, pricing, programs and profit. Although new self-storage development is stalled or minimized at the present time, expansion continues to be the best commercial real estate segment in America. Financing is the key challenge of the future!
MiniCo has also has business operations in Asia. Tell us about that.

Almost on every continent, new opportunities are being discovered for self-storage development and use. In 2002, we premiered MiniCo Self Storage in Hong Kong. We’re the first and only Americans conducting self-storage operations there. We have three locations: Kowloon, Hong Kong Island and the New Territories. Business is good and growing. The staff includes a managing director and 10 customer-service representatives. They all speak Mandarin, Cantonese and English, and offer top-shelf service, courtesy, cooperation, kindness and professionalism.

Marilyn Leslie is a partner and president of MiniCo Asia Ltd., and responsible for our Asian operations. She spends about half her time in America, and half in Hong Kong. Because of the Australian, English, Chinese and other competitive onslaught, we’re adding more space, new focus and extra emphasis on our Hong Kong operations. Also, we continue to be braced for an American competitor. Barriers to entry are numerous, but understanding the Asian mind, manner and culture is the most difficult challenge.

What’s next for you?

I’m moving forward with new ventures. We moved MiniCo Asia’s world headquarters to a small suite in a building next to MiniCo. Selling MiniCo last May took some courage, some ignorance, some lawyers and accountants, some New York investment bankers, and a few million dollars. Aran Insurance Services Group kept the MiniCo team and negotiated a five-year lease on the building. I will serve as a special advisor to the executive team at MiniCo Insurance Agency.

We can’t know what the future holds; however, I know who holds the future and give thanks to God! I’m looking forward to more fun and living it up—sports and sporting events, outdoor action, skiing, swimming, flying, camping, hunting, fishing, racing, reading, writing and beaching it! My idea is to spend more time in Asia, more time sailing on our boat, and extra time with the kids and grandkids—not necessarily in that order.

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