U.K. self-storage entrepreneurs Mike Wilson and Andy Wood have received investment backing from Seneca Partners Ltd. to launch the new SureStore brand. The pair have already acquired three properties in Northwest England, recently opening their first facility in Bolton. Developments are also underway in Northwich and Wigan. When complete, the company’s first three properties will comprise about 120,000 square feet, according to a source.
Wilson and Wood intend to build the brand quickly through acquisitions and development, with plans to add seven more locations across the Northwest and Midlands during the next 18 months, a source reported.
“We are excited to be behind this drive to take personal and business storage to the next level and are particularly gratified that it has started here in the Northwest,” said Wilson, who will lead the venture’s operation and strategic direction. “Customers are increasingly seeking accessible, secure, technologically advanced solutions to their many and varied storage needs. Alongside state-of-the-art storage, we aim to offer a range of additional services, including parcel collection and mail redirection, all of which can be accessed remotely.”
Wilson was previously CEO of Smart Storage, rising from chief financial officer. He executed a management buyout in 2014 with financial backing from Seneca and then sold the business for £13 million in March. The transaction provided Seneca a six-times return on its investment, a source reported.
Wood was European sales director for a self-storage development firm before co-founding Storage Boost in 2005. The company built a self-storage portfolio of three properties before selling for an undisclosed amount last year.
SureStore plans to target commercial tenants as a point of differentiation. “We have been spurred on by the knowledge that business users in self-storage are growing exponentially,” Wood told a source. “At last count, there were 150,000 separate businesses using self-storage in this country. Business owners are recognizing that there is a flexible and cost-effective alternative to fixed leases. Naturally, they demand the most up-to-date premises and highest levels of customer service. That is where our managed storage brand strategy comes into its own.”
Founded in 2010, Seneca is a corporate-advisory and investment-management firm specializing in small and mid-sized enterprises. Its equity strategy includes growth capital, private equity and property investments, according to its website.
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