A member of the family that owns Greenville-based JHM Hotels is launching a self-storage business and hopes to have more than 100 locations across the country in a decade.
JHM President D.J. Rama and a silent partner from California have launched the new venture, called TD Self Storage. It’s being run from Greenville, out of the same building along Interstate 385 that serves as JHM’s headquarters.
Roger Burgin, a senior vice president with TD Self Storage, said the company plans to start construction in November on its first 100,000-square-foot facility at the corner of Pelham and Boiling Springs roads in Eastside Greenville.
He said TD Self Storage is currently negotiating to acquire six other sites – one in Greenville, two in Charleston, two in Orlando, Fla., and one in Austin, Texas.
It plans to add 10 to 12 sites a year, starting in the Southeast and Texas.
“Once we kind of establish ourselves and get to a certain point – at least 20 to 25 sites – then we’re going to start expanding out to California and other states throughout the United States,” he said.
TD Self Storage plans to have more than 100 facilities in 10 years, Burgin said.
It aims to buy and improve existing self-storage facilities in addition to developing its own.
The company is contracting with CubeSmart, a Pennsylvania-based real estate investment trust that owns a self-storage chain, to manage its facilities, Burgin said.
He said the CubeSmart brand will appear on TD Self Storage’s facilities.
Burgin said TD Self Storage is coming to market in a novel way by focusing on women, who make 70 percent of buying decisions for the industry.
Its locations will have more security cameras than competitors, he said, as well as plenty of LED lighting and “music running through the whole system.”
Each facility will have a hotel-like, well-appointed lobby on the first floor with free WiFi and a special area for children.
A traditional storage facility is that “rough old place you go into,” Burgin said. “If your mother went there, she wouldn’t feel safe at night because the lighting was so dim.”
Across the country, Burgin said, self-storage units on average are 92 percent occupied.
The business is “as close as you can get to a recession-proof business because even when people lose their jobs they’re going to store,” he said.
Burgin said self-storage facilities offer a better return on investment than other kinds of businesses that are more labor-intensive.
“To run a $2 million McDonald’s, you need about 40 employees,” he said. “To run a $2 million self-storage facility, you need three employees.”
Burgin, who is running TD Self Storage for its owners, just moved to Greenville from Orlando, where he was vice president of business development for Simply Self Storage, a chain with more than 230 locations, according to its website.
His previous experience includes stints as an executive with a self-storage company in California and two real estate investment trusts that own self-storage units.