The first commercial storage company in the United States is thought to have been founded in the late 1880s. The founders targeted people who were moving west or who were attempting to start new businesses– many of them needed a place to store furniture and other possessions. And, as time marched on, Americans began to become more mobile. With the construction of the interstate highway system in the late 1950s and the increased prevalence of automobiles among the working class in the 1960s, many people needed places to store their excess equipment – and for some, a place to store their convertibles in the winter. Naturally, entrepreneurs jumped on this opportunity and offered self-storage for local businessmen to hold all their toys and trinkets.
By the 1970s, Americans were becoming more and more affluent; their desires to buy bigger and better vehicles, furniture, and personal belongings reflected a need for increased space. Most people could benefit from self-storage, opting to store unused vehicles, older furniture, or even unused baby clothes and other memorabilia in self-storage units. Of course, this also meant that homes were increasing in size, and people bought more items to fill their homes with. Alternatively, older homes simply couldn’t hold all the modern-day necessities in an efficient manner, and thus self-storage units became an absolute requirement.
Throughout the 1990s, a good economy pushed more Americans into better jobs, and the cash started flowing. Many families bought more than they needed (and in some cases, could afford!) and needed extra space to store all their belongings. From vehicles to furniture, everything needed its own secure place and a self-storage facility was the perfect place to use for that. Even into the mid-2000s, the high demand for self-storage influenced the number of units being built on a yearly basis; the numbers are in the thousands.
As the need for self-storage increased, so did the quality of self-storage units. What had originally started as spaces in a garage or barn ended up becoming high-tech temperature-controlled spaces designed specifically for long-term storage. Demand has remained high over the years, and families from all income levels seek the benefits of off-site storage. Some units even have wine cellars and water features installed to appeal to the highest income bracket of Americans.
As socioeconomic factors influence the needs of Americans in the future, there will still be a high demand for quality storage units. Divorce rates and split households have a huge impact on the self-storage industry: spouses often need a place to store their possessions while searching for a new place to live. The baby boomers will retire and need to move into smaller homes or even assisted living facilities, leaving their belongings behind. Heirs will want to place all the valuables in high-quality storage facilities to ensure their safety until the time comes to claim them.
If you are looking for a self-storage facility, you can rest assured that there’s a long history behind the industry – and a high demand for quality facilities. Find one near you today!