If I asked people in the community where you self storage business was located what comes to their mind when they think of your facility, what would they say? Would they mention your great customer service? Your air-conditioned units? Your free moving truck? Would they mention whales?
Whales. That’s what people in Boston would mention when they talk about Planet Self Storage just off Exit 18 on Traveler Street. That’s because a huge whale mural is painted on the side of the building. That mural has become a well-known fixture to people in the area – and people traveling along the nearby expressway.
In the early 1990s, Robert Wyland painted a mural on the facility as part of his “Whaling Wall” project. (Best known as simply Wyland, he is well-known for his large outdoor paintings of whales and other ocean life. His quest was to paint 100 life-size public marine murals to increase public appreciation and understanding for aquatic habitats and the life within.)
In 1997, another company purchased the self storage facility and branded it as Planet Self Storage. At that time, the building wasn’t watertight and the brickwork needed extensive upgrades. As part of the improvements, siding was put over the Wyland mural.
Then, in 1998, the owners of the storage facility commissioned Ron Deziel to paint his own whale mural. Deziel agreed and decided to paint Orca whales instead of the humpback whales that Wyland painted. So, over the years, the Planet Self Storage facility has become well-known for its mural of whales on its building. (Some tourists mistake it for the city’s aquarium.)
However, that mural will soon be hidden by a new development. A New Jersey-based developer is constructing two side-by-side residential buildings that will block the whale mural so it won’t be visible from I-93.
Bryce Grefe, manager of the partnership that owns the storage building, isn’t too worried about the new construction’s affect on business. He said that between 80-90 percent of Planet Storage’s business comes from local residents who simply walk there. He feels that even though the new residential buildings will block the mural that there won’t be a huge loss in business.
“Say Goodbye to the Whales Off Route 93.” Boston.com; 9 June 2014.
“Boston’s giant killer whale mural could disappear behind new construction project.” The Patriot Ledger; 16 August 2012.