It was the real estate developers of the early 1960s who first recognized the growing demand for residential and commercial storage. They also recognized the enormous investment potential self storage offered. With that, the stage was set for the industry we know today.
In the early years, self storage was only available at conventional warehouses operated by moving and storage companies. These bonded companies were responsible for providing protection against pilferage and burglary. The renter was responsible for inventorying and handling their items. If the renter needed to access their items, the moving and storage company would charge an additional fee.
By the mid 60s, self storage evolved to self service storage, offering convenience of individual units and drive-up access. The first self-storage facility opened in the southwest. More facilities quickly opened on the west coast, then throughout the United States.
The first buildings featured rows upon rows of garage doors with unpaved driveways secured by chain link fences. The designs eventually evolved to include offices and gates, and finally the ability to convert older buildings into viable self-storage businesses.
The facilities of today have come to be characterized as "third generation", featuring advancements in aesthetics, design, and technology. From single storage buildings to three story facilities with interior hallways and climate control, self storage has evolved to accommodate the multifaceted needs of today's renter. No longer does self storage primarily house valuable vault items; now you will find boats, cars, household items, medical records, business inventory, and industrial equipment.
In the United States alone there are 59,657 self-storage facilities*, proving storage is here to stay. It has become a fixture of our commerce, from rural America to booming metropolitan hubs. With a market value of $220 billion, the self storage industry has proven its value as a solid investment opportunity with high financial performance*. Today, over 21,000 self-storage owners* have made a robust living owning and renting self-storage facilities. Whether a newer facility from the third generation or an older facility from the 1960s, self storage remains a highly competitive industry that continues to grow through the ages.
*Self Storage Association, 2007.