Jim Wright, President, Wright Building Systems, Hendersonville, Tenn., has been seeing a pick up in demand for self-storage buildings in the southern states. His company is a supplier of pre-manufactured steel buildings used in a variety of uses, in addition to storage. “We had a really tough year in 2009,” he said. It has progressively been getting better with each passing year, with 2012 showing definite signs of recovery.
He hasn’t noticed a big change in types of storage building demand, except there has been some noticeable interest in climate control in his area. “They seem to have increased in the past year,” he notes. “I had more requests. I think I had three of them in this past year … Paris, Ky., Jackson, Tenn., and one east of Nashville. And I probably did only one each year in the years before.”
They, too, have ranged in unit size, with storage customers wanting everything from vehicles to small valuables kept in environments protective of the damages caused by extreme temperatures. Insulation is the only solution needed in most instances. “The typical insulation for a building not climate controlled for this part of the country is a 2-inch, vinyl reinforced fiberglass insulation in the roof,” Wright says. “When it becomes climate-controlled, we use a 2- or 3-inch insulation in the roof and then also in the walls between the structure and the exterior panel.”
As a supplier to builders, Wright typically receives calls for standard rollup doors for storage units, either 8×7 foot or 9×7 foot, but quality is key. “There’s two or three companies that are good in providing those doors: Janis, DBCI. The last couple years we’ve been using a company out of North Carolina called Betco. They’ve also introduced me to galvanized framing at really no add. The galvanized framing helps protect that steel against the elements in case some water does enter the structure. Of course with mini storage, most of the time the framing is completely covered by the roof and walls and so there shouldn’t be any exposure, but it’s a selling point to offer a galvanized coating on the structure as opposed to the old standard red primer you would see.”
Betco also makes doors and by purchasing doors and windows from the same company, Wright is able to save on shipping.
One of Wright’s regular customers is Jerry Thornberry, a steel erector who has used Wright buildings on several commercial jobs over the course of the last 16 to 17 years. One of those projects includes Thornberry’s own mini-storage business (see separate article).
Steel erector Jerry Thornberry built his mini-storage business in Bluegrass Country, just outside the “Thoroughbred Capital of the World”, Paris, Ky., (population 9,000-plus).
Thornberry erected the buildings himself over the course of several years using Wright Building Systems.
Today, there are five 30×150-foot buildings on the site, located about 100 miles east of Louisville, each containing multiple units for rent, along with one 40×80-foot building devoted to boat and RV storage. Another 80×80-foot building and 20×24-foot attachment houses the office and climate-controlled storage.
For Thornberry, larger units are most in demand. The most popular size is 10×15 foot, so he has 64 units of that size, followed by 41 each of 10×10-foot and 10×20-foot. There is less demand for smaller units, so he has available only a dozen in the 5×10-foot size.
The site also provides space for Thornberry’s U-Haul rental business.
Editor, Rural Builder