Big Business Meets Mom and Pop in the Self Storage Industry

For many industries there are only a few large companies that really dominate the market. For shoes its Nike, Reebok, and Addidas. For soft drinks it is Coke and Pepsi. For domestic beer, the market is dominated by either Budweiser or Miller Lite. Not all industries are like that though.

While it may not be at the level of the aforementioned industries, the self storage industry is not small potatoes having grown to become a $20 billion+ a year industry. Globally there are close to 60,000 facilities worldwide; over 50,000 of them are in the United States alone. 

So not only does the self storage industry gross a significant amount of money, but in sheer numbers alone the industry is quite large. While it definitely qualifies as a large industry in the United States, it is not like most large industries.

Now there are some large corporations within the industry. The top five alone own around 4,850 self storage facilities, or approximately 9.5 percent of the total within the U.S. Another 30,230 companies own the remaining facilities. Of those companies, 27,650 of them are the proud owner of a single facility. 

One such ‘Mom and Pop’ self storage facility is the I-10 Self Storage in the Tucson, Arizona area. The facility is now run by Joanne Herder, but she is the second generation to run the facility. Her father came up with the idea of building a self storage facility on a plot of land he owns back in 1981. 

Through the years one member of the family or another operated the facility. Sometimes they had managers in charge of the day to day operations, but in 2007 it was decided that it was time to keep it all in the family. That was about the time that Joanne and her husband Pete took over ownership of the facility.

Sometimes when you visit the facility you might see a third generation of the family holding down the fort, Joanna’s daughter Jenna.

“It’s not just a business, it’s a second home, a family history,” said Jenna.” I couldn’t ask for a better job. We are mother and daughter, but we are also best friends. We’re a team, we support each other 100 percent.”

For an industry to be run primarily by shops like the Herder family and have revenues in the range of $20 billion they must be doing something right.

Sources Used:

“I-10 Self-Storage is a family affair.”; 13 July 2012.

2011 SSA Fact Sheet; Self Storage Association

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