Self storage business booms

August 8, 2008 5:58:26 AM PDT
With the housing market suffering, one business is booming, self-storage. In some communities, just finding a storage unit is nearly impossible.

Chuck Jeffries spends his days locking up and checking the facilities as manager of Branham Self Storage in San Jose. He doesn't have to go out in search of business, it's coming to him. The facility is nearly full and he attributes the spike in occupancy to the drop in the housing market.

"They have to move out and they're losing their places and they have to put their stuff somewhere, somewhere fast," said Jeffries.

Santa Clara County is 40th in the state for the number of foreclosures per capita. Since February, several area self-storage companies have noticed a significant rise in business. That's not all, stock in major storage companies, like Public Storage, is up nearly 20 percent.

There are only 10 units out of 375 left here at Branham Self Storage and they are all smaller than a closet size space. No one wants the small units. The demand right now is for larger units - 10 by 14, essentially something that can fit the contents of a house.

"They're pretty much sold out, I'm positive that you check with anyone with the outside ones, that has the 10 by 20s and the 10 by 30s, they're gone. You're not going to find any of those," said Jeffries.

At Willow Glen Storage there is just one closet-sized room left. Someone has already reserved the slightly larger one.

"We can empty out a storage today and tomorrow it's rented," said Gracie Silva of Willow Glen Storage.

Martin Gonzalez made sure he got a unit. Right after losing his mechanic's job, last month he lost his apartment. Now, just about everything he owns is inside this eight foot by 10 foot room.

"I was renting an apartment but it got too expensive, car payment, rent," said Martin Gonzalez, a storage renter.

It was costing him $3,000 a month. The rent on a storage unit is $100 a month.

"We rescue them and in turn, they make us very successful," said Silva.

And until the economy picks up, this trend is not expected to slow down.


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