My kids LOVE Storage Wars.
Even my husband has caught the bug and sometimes watches it with them. When they are not watching it on TV, the kids are playing it at home with our various rooms, bidding against each other for the bathroom contents or the closet. Or they are on their electronics playing Storage Wars there. It has a lot of appeal for them .
Storage lockers are a relatively new invention. Started in 1958 in Florida, chains started appearing in the late 1960's and the industry really took off in the 90's. The United States has the most storage facilities worldwide. There are typically 4Ds that drive demand: divorce, death, downsizing and dislocation (the need to move).
In my folks' Muskoka facility, we are now 95% full. We started out with no lockers rented because of a dispute between the prior owners. Now, out of 165 lockers, we may have a handful available at any one point in time and sometimes have none. We have contractors who store their tools; cleaning suppliers who store their products; interior design companies that store furniture; lots of folks who moved north and need to store excess items until they get settled; many people who are storing their parents' household items because they have moved to a retirement home; professionals who keep their files with us; and numerous others who value climate controlled and secure storage for their valuables.
We are extremely grateful for the business and always try to take very good care of the building and of our locker clients. Our storage manager is a Muskoka local and she knows all of our tenants on a first name basis and is skilled at catering to their needs. We are also hoping to add some outdoor storage lockers down the road to continue to meet our client's demand for more space.
The storage industry is fascinating and seems to be steadily growing in Canada. Fortunately we have very few bad debts in Muskoka and those who owe money are usually personally known to us so we try to work with them to get current or to move out. Hence thus far there has been no drama with delinquent units like that on TV. Nonetheless, my kids are always hopeful.
Yesterday I visited a friend of mine who lives on the Muskoka River. It was a beautiful sunny day with a light breeze.
When we arrived in the late afternoon, we noticed a baited trap out in his yard along with a .22 rifle at the ready. When we enquired what he was trying to catch, he told me red squirrels because they were making themselves a nuisance all around his yard. He confirmed that once he trapped them he was going to shoot them dead. A few months previously, I had a problem with raccoons in the attic. A mama raccoon had taken up residency and had just given birth to babies. I waited a couple of months for the raccoon babies to grow large enough to survive on their own before humanely coaxing them out. I was struck by the differences between the Muskoka and the Toronto approach.
At my folks' building in Muskoka, we have Abell Pest Control on retainer. They treat the building on a monthly basis, primarily for mice and ants. There are traps all around the perimeter and those traps kill the mice and the ants. We are very happy with them and feel pest control is an essential service for any commercial or industrial building. Our tenants are happy not having to deal with the nuisance of pests in the building.
That being said, the building is never completely free of pests. I was heading to our General Manager's office on the mezzanine level the other day and out of the corner of my eye saw something slithering on the floor. "Reinhard, can you please come here...now!!" The snake had wandered in through an open door on the gorgeous summer day and had decided to mount the steps. It was a garter snake, more scared than I was, and Reinhard indicated the biggest risk was that it would pee on him when he relocated it back outside.
Fishers are common around our building and they pose a significant risk to cats and little dogs. They are vicious and efficient killers and one of our staff lost his wife's small dog to one last year. The fellow who lives in the building has two beautiful Siamese cats and he indicated they've come back with bites and scratches after their nightly adventures and he worries they may go out some night and never come back. The gal who runs Muskoka Yarn Connection had a fisher wander into her old store. It took three days to remove him and during that time he completely destroyed the store.
The same gentleman who was killing squirrels told me with admiration about his neighbour, Sure Shot, who could kill anything with tremendous accuracy using his .22 rifle with silenced bullets. He then rated the taste of beaver, muskrat, bear, moose, deer and rabbit, telling me that rabbit was his favourite.
There are significant differences between Muskoka and Toronto and I am enjoying bridging the two worlds on a weekly basis.
Entrepreneur and mom to four amazing kids
Q: Why did the can crusher quit his job?
A: Because it was soda pressing.