Do you have items you don’t need but that you can’t seem to throw away? Maybe you have some family heirlooms that you want to save or you’re doing a home remodel and need a temporary place for storage.
You’re not alone. This is why self-storage units continue to grow in popularity. According to the SpareFoot Storage Beat, the number of storage facilities in the U.S. ranges from 44,000 to 52,000, offering 2.3 billion square feet of total rentable self-storage space.
Horizon Storage Solutions at 1121 Washington Street is Shelbyville’s premier storage unit provider, with a total of 525 traditional self-storage and temperature-controlled storage spaces in a variety of sizes. Horizon is the brainchild of Shelby County native Greg Smith. Smith acquired the first two acres of the current five-acre site about ten years ago, financing it through the owners. He began outside demo and hired an Atlanta company to provide a five-year study on the feasibility and growth of storage units in the area.
“The study showed positives,” Smith says. “I already had the property, so I took the study to Frank Page at Citizens Union Bank (CUB) and laid out my business plan. The entire process took about two years before we broke ground.”
Smith chose CUB because “it’s a hometown bank.” “It has a hometown feel,” says Smith. “They will take a plan and idea and work with you. They are very honest and upfront with you, explaining the ins and outs of what they can or cannot do. They are not afraid to take a risk if they feel you have a solid plan. It’s hard to get that from a bank that is not local and doesn’t know your reputation.” Smith was already the owner operator of Horizon Opportunities, a landscape and property maintenance company.
“We provided a construction loan for the first phase of the project and rolled the land purchase into the total cost,” Page says. In the first phase, Horizon Storage Solutions built 205 traditional units and were 90 percent occupied in the first year. That success initiated the move to phase two and CUB was willing to move with them. “Greg had a good track record and was knowledgeable about the product,” Page explained.
In phase two, adjacent land was purchased. Smith also cleaned up and utilized the roof and sides of two distressed tobacco warehouses located on site. He built temperature-controlled spaces inside the warehouses. During the Shelbyville expansion, Dr. Kirk Swigert and Mr. Smith partnered to build a self-storage facility located in Simpsonville, Ky. “I talked with Frank, and CUB was willing to go down that path parallel with the expansion in Shelbyville,” Smith says.
Known as Horizon Storage Simpsonville, the steel buildings are on site and should be up and available for rent by mid-summer. These units are all drive ups, no climate control.
Smith says renters store everything from automobiles to furniture to electronics. A number of small businesses, such as HVAC companies, that don’t need a brick and mortar storefront, use the units to store their day-to-day supplies. The property is fenced, has 24-hour surveillance, and a gate-controlled entrance to provide access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. An onsite office is staffed Monday through Saturday.
Horizon Storage Solutions also offers RV and boat parking as well as U-Haul rental.
“The whole transaction has been smooth,” says Smith. “If CUB thinks your plan isn’t going to work, or they think you need to go back to the drawing board, they’ll let you know. That means a lot. They’re not going to drive your business, but they have the foresight to understand it a little bit.”
“One of the things that helped this process is that we were familiar with the area, we understood the needs of the community,” says Page.
Because Horizon took a distressed property and changed it to something useful, both Smith and Page said residents often comment on how nice the property looks.
Horizon is looking in surrounding counties for a possible third location. “I expect CUB will be right there with us as we expand,” says Smith.