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Storage demand spurs three-stage expansion

Self Storage Gisborne is investing about $1.2 million to expand its Makaraka storage services by an additional 180 units over the next three years, to meet strong demand.

Managing director Peter Jex-Blake says the extension of their Makaraka facility is on 1 hectare of land directly opposite it. The front portion of the land will be leased to a logging contractor, with development of the new storage units taking place over three stages on the remaining 4500 square metres.

Self Storage Gisborne first opened in 2007 with just 20 units at a central city facility. The family-owned business expanded over the years by building a facility at Makaraka. It now has a combined 460 units of different size options.

Mr Jex-Blake says stage one of the development will involve a building spanning 700 square metres that will house 60 storage units.

“All along we have built in stages,” he said.

“If you build one huge building, it'll take quite a few years to fill up — so if the building is done in smaller stages, basically when you fill them up you go the next stage. So it starts to fund itself.”

The full expansion would involve three stages and three buildings, each housing 60 units, said Mr Jex-Blake.

The initial stage would see an investment of $600,000 in the building, infrastructure development and “state of the art” access security that was fully automated and computerised.

It would take about three years to complete the expansion, provided there was a continuing “upward trend” in demand from customers.

Mr Jex-Blake said their existing storage facilities had “maxed out” due to the demand.

Growth had been “pretty phenomenal” over the past 18 months, which had motivated him to buy the new site last November.

“Well, this seems to coincide with Covid-19 but I think the population in Gisborne is definitely growing. With a lot more economic activity, and a combination of a lot of factors, the town has got busier over the years.”

There was also demand from people who had gone into emergency housing, as they had no place to stay so were living in a motel.

“So they put their gear in storage until they find a home somewhere.”

Mr Jex-Blake said they had 30 different-sized storage units to choose from — depending on availability — which was a larger range than most other facilities offered.

“This means we are able to provide better value, as customers only pay for the space they require,” he said.

For example, storage sizes could vary from a wardrobe size (the smallest) to a large one that could hold the contents of a four-bedroom house.

“So to visualise, the larger ones are the size of a single car garage,” he said.

Mr Jex-Blake said the development would include a parking storage space for vehicles like campervans.

“We are noticing an increase in demand for areas for people to park their vehicles due to Covid. People can't travel so they have bought campervans, and some have come here to store them,” he said.

Mr Jex-Blake said that besides their close location and an assured secure experience, their website allowed people to reserve storage units online — ensuring a contactless system, which was favourable for times like these.

NEW DEVELOPMENT: Self Storage Gisborne is expanding its Makaraka facility with a development across the road. Pictured at the site, from left, are manager Polly Taukamo and owners Peter Jex-Blake and Sylvia Jex-Blake. Mr Jex-Blake says the site will have state-of-the-art access security that is fully automated and computerised.Picture by Liam Clayton