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Island Self Storage expands to meet soaring demand

A growing and unexpected demand for storage space on Island has led to a team of entrepreneurs opening up a second floor in their facility.

Island Self Storage, which is run by Don Mackenzie and Glen Smith, have expanded the facility in Mill Reach Properties, Pembroke with the installation of 84 units to cater to the homeowner or small business owner.

The new level will open on Monday with a waiting list of people already queuing up to get in since July and August last year.

The facility, which claims to be the Island's first comprehensive self storage solution, was launched in May 2010 with the initial design phase of the first floor comprising 297 storage units up to a size of 10ft x 30ft as well as 20 wine storage units.

Clientele vary from companies downsizing, householders renovating their properties, residents leaving the Island, contractors, hobbyists and even DJs.

But the new units will offer an added dimension with smaller spaces of between 5ft x 5ft and 10ft x 10ft to meet the needs of the smaller scale market, according to Mr Smith, who is president of Island Solutions (Bermuda) Ltd.

“The units are ideal for a small retail person or someone with a small one-bedroom cottage,” he said.

Mr Mackenzie, chairman of parent company New Venture Holdings Ltd, whose head office is based in the four-floor building, admitted that it had been a steep learning curve since opening the first phase which had enabled them to find the optimal locker size.

He said that they had not necessarily started out with the intention of building a second floor of storage space, but due to the good response and feedback from the community and the 100 percent subscription they decided to press ahead with the new units.

In fact, the facility was 90 percent full in the space of about six months - by far surpassing the average of 18 months to two years for 80 percent occupancy in the US.

Mr Mackenzie said that priority for the new units would be given to existing clients and there were also new customers waiting to come on board.

He said that Island Self Storage had set itself apart from the competition through its high level of customer service, with manager Shawn Gravito, who worked under Mr Smith at his former business venture IBC for 10 years, and his team helping with everything from moving goods in to arranging pick up and delivery.

They will also be able to receive their clients' shipments, pay duty on them and store them in the units to save them time.

Asked what impact competitors such as Bermuda Public Storage in Elliott Street, Hamilton and Bedrock Secure Self Storage in Ferry Reach had had on business, the pair were bullish on their product filling a niche market by offering quality for money, while they welcomed the competition to meet the ever growing and new-found demand.

Mr Smith said that the reception so far had been tremendous and he was anticipating more interest in the future.

“The reception that we had initially was this was way overdue and why wasn't it around 10 years ago?” he said.

Mr Mackenzie said that they had taken a big risk in setting up the facility, particularly during a recession, but all of their hard work and commitment had paid off.

“We have both put a major capital investment into this business and there was a risk involved because the infrastructure we had to build was significant,” he said.

“But we have had good occupancy rates because of the quality we have put into it.”

New Venture Holdings is also planning to launch an office space called Suite Solutions which can be rented on a weekly or monthly basis to complement its storage facility.

The building, which is built on a 0.8-acre site, includes one of Bermuda's first fully climate-controlled facilities, featuring dehumidification for the self storage floor to protect precious items and reduce mould, emergency power with a 450 kilowatt generator as back-up.

There are also 47 car parking and 42 bike spaces, as well as security systems, including cameras, and lighting, and 24/7 access, while vans and trucks have access to the conveyer belt in the Federal Express delivery room for deliveries and pick-ups and the retail shop sells packaging and boxing.

The self storage facility's office is open from Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm and Saturday from 9am to 1pm with an after hours helpline.

For more information contact 297-8673 or visit the website at

Thinking inside the box: Don Mackenzie, chairman of New Venture Holdings Ltd., Shawn Gravito, manager of Island Self Storage, and Glen Smith, president of Island Solutions (Bermuda) Ltd

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Published March 10, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated March 10, 2011 at 8:41 am)

Island Self Storage expands to meet soaring demand

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