Filtering by Category: Self-Storage
Self Storage is boring, and I had no intention of running a self storage business, much less putting one into the Counts Brothers Building. However, I had 4500 storefrontless square feet that I desperately needed to lease out in order to pay the bills. I didn't want to split it up into residential lofts, but the question remained "What kind of business do you not want to SEE?" My friend and real estate agent Jerry suggested self storage, which I immediately turned down. But when I started asking neighbors what kinds of services they needed, it turned out that everyone with whom I talked had a storage unit and they all had to drive to get there, and would love to be able to walk to their unit. So I went with Self Storage, but tried to come up with ways to make it more fun. We painted the walls white, in order to create a canvas. Space 111 art studio is a block down the street and Rachael, Margot, and Suzanne came over to make art on the walls. Some examples are below (thanks to Sarah Miller for the pictures). There's also a bonus picture of somebody's hand on my glowing countertops.
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I don't post pictures of customers' storage units until after they've moved out (and with their permission obviously), but I couldn't wait to post these. Friend and long time 2nd Avenue storage customer David Seale moved into his new wife Camille Spratling's nearby loft. While they were looking for a bigger place, David needed somewhere to put his recording equipment, along with some clothes and furniture. David arranged the items in such a way that actually made the storage unit look homey. He also set up his equipment so that he could record some songs without having to move all of his stuff to another location. The storage units don't usually have electricity but we ran an extension cord so that he could make some music if the inspiration struck him.
Sorry to see this one go, but I love that I can post the pictures now!
We installed security cameras around the building. 2nd Avenue Storage runs unmanned several hours a day and we wanted our tenants' belongings to be as safe as possible, monitor traffic, and be able to see what was happening remotely. All feeds can be viewed on the TV screen in my loft. To notify customers they were on camera, we made some signs. Honestly, self storage is boring, and people associate it with an unpleasant chore, so I try to make it easy to use and less boring than other storage facilities. Keeping with this idea, I didn't want to buy off the shelf signs, so the accordion player and I put on our creative caps and painted some signs of our own. I think they were a success, because everyone that sees them smiles. And smiling is the point: they're on camera.
The upper floor of the Counts Brothers Building is home to 2nd Avenue Storage. Until recently customers have used keys to enter and exit. This week we installed proximity card readers to increase security. Cards are serialized and entrances are recorded so that we know who is coming and going, and access can be more easily revoked if the need should arise. In other news, El Barrio has begun outdoor seating, taking advantage of the covered recess leading to the doorway of 2nd Avenue Storage and my loft. It's a nice place to enjoy the spring weather!
I got a partial Certificate of Occupancy last week, and I'm thrilled to announce that I'm living in my loft. I haven't had time to move any furniture in, so I'm set up somewhat camp style, sleeping on an air mattress and living out of unpacked boxes. I've posted about the lit countertops before, but being there at night allowed me to take this incredible picture that really shows off the idea of a forge:
Birmingham's background as a steel producing city inspired the molten metal look of the countertops as well as the steel cabinetry.
Not only have I moved in, but so have my first self storage customers. In fact, they liked it so much they got a second unit. Welcome John and Mabel Tingley!
Last week Appleseed completed the self-storage walls, installed doors, and hung light fixtures. All that's left on the units themselves are paint and door hardware. Other improvements that will take place over the next month are the installation of a security system, rear stairwell, and finishing the customer bathroom. Construction for the freight elevator is currently underway. [gallery order="DESC"]