A lot of major discoveries during the history of the world have come about for one of two reasons– either by shear accident or out of necessity. Often times it is the need for change or the very least the need for an alternative to the status quo that gets people to discover the latest and greatest innovations that can shape our society.
Such was definitely the case behind the creation of one of the first self storage aggregators, USstoragesearch.com.
Back around the turn of the century a real estate company in Omaha, Nebraska, called Cornerstone Commercial Real Estate, had one self storage facility in its portfolio. While self storage facilities were free to engage in any form of advertising they want, it was not uncommon for small operations like this to just have space in the local Yellow Pages and that’s it.
The good people at Cornerstone were not real happy with what they were getting for their money. They wanted to see more business coming in for the money that they were speding.As a result of that they opted to start an online form of the Yellow Pages geared specifically towards the self storage industry called OmahaStorage.com.
Since it was smaller operations like theirs that were suffering without sufficient advertising it was geared especially towards helping smaller facilities compete with the larger companies.
“Property managers who had a need and were losing money, not getting a good return on the advertising dollars that were being put in, came to us,” said Bill Hipsher, the director of business development at USstoragesearch.com.
The idea appeared to work out rather well so in 2004 they decided to go national with the idea, and USstoragesearch.com was born. Fast forward to 2012 and the site now has listings for over 30,000 markets covering approximately 97 percent of the nation. Users can now search for self storage facilities by state, city, zip code, address, as well as by amenities (i.e. climate controlled units, drive-up access, auto/boat/RV storage, size, etc.).
Just like every good idea, there have been a number of copycats and variations of the idea put into practice in recent years. More and more sites are popping up all over the internet that is geared towards serving specific communities and locals. Some of the recent ones include CheapPhoenixSelfStorage.com, BethesdaStorage.com, ArlingtonSelfStorage.com, and One by One Storage (San Diego).
“Needs of small Omaha company give rise to big name in online self-storage.” Silicone Prairie News; 28 March 2012.
“Self Storage Aggregators Continue to Thrive.” Self Storage Industry News; 16 March 2012.
“Technology a Boon to the Self Storage Industry.” Self Storage Industry News; 19 January 2012.