Self-storage Industry Goes Upscale As Canada Downsizes
Storage-Mart’s mammoth Leaside facility is more than just the biggest walk-in closet in Canada for people’s stuff — it’s a testament to the times.
The condo boom, downsizing, divorce, death and changing tastes have all contributed to a doubling in self-storage across Canada over the last decade — and a virtual explosion across the United States — as more folks find themselves space-challenged but unable to part with even the tarnished trophies of their lives.
Renovations, remodelling and even the constant comings and goings of grown children have all meant that old furniture, boxes of china and camping equipment have had to find safe homes away from home, under 24-hour accessible lock and key, in Storage-Mart’s 122,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Canadian facility at Laird and Eglinton.
Surprisingly, some 20 to 30 per cent of its lockers are also, in essence, small business incubators — places where plumbers and store owners can park their tools and supplies when needed, or until it makes sense to take long-term leases on bigger industrial space.
“Of course, there is no living on-site. It’s forbidden in the lease,” says Storage-Mart regional manager Alex Dubinsky with a chuckle. “We’ve caught our fair share of people trying to get away with that.
“But everything is monitored. If we see suspicious activity or people punching in codes at random times, we get on top of it very quickly.”