Fun fact: There are more self-storage facilities in America than there are Starbucks coffee shops. To be more specific, while Starbucks has more than 13,000 locations in the country, self-storage facilities still outnumber them five to one according to a recent report from commercial real estate publication REJournals.
This surprising statistic was not lost on Dick Gilroy, owner of the Stor-House chain of self-storage facilities in Washington State, which coincidentally is the birthplace of Starbucks.
Prior to starting Stor-House, Dick spent 30 years as a real estate developer working on residential housing and commercial developments. Being in real estate development proved to be the perfect position to watch the self-storage industry grow.
With his interest piqued, Dick decided to attend several self-storage workshops and seminars. It wasn’t long before he decided that going into the self-storage business himself would not only be a good investment opportunity, but a refreshing career change as well.
Breaking ground on Stor-House proved to come with its own set of hurdles, even with Dick’s many years of experience in real estate development.
“One of the challenges of developing self-storage facilities is finding the correct zoning,” he explained. “Most municipalities only allow self-storage in industrial zones. It’s our belief that since a large percentage of business comes from homeowners, the most convenient location is a commercial zone similar to gas stations or drug stores.”
In order to secure a location for Stor-House that was convenient for customers, Dick had to undergo several public hearings to request a variance in the existing zoning.
“Neighbors, examiners, and city staff can be difficult to convince that self-storage is an asset rather than a negative to a neighborhood,” he recalled. “However, with the right design and attention to their concerns, it can be accomplished. When that happens, it’s a great feeling when city staff or neighbors stop by to compliment you on the new facility.”
Several years after successfully opening their first facility, Dick decided to grow Stor-House and bring their easy-access, user-friendly approach to self-storage to other Washington communities. In order to reposition his business for expansion, he needed to refinance his existing loan under some tight deadlines. When his then-current bank was unable to meet those timeframes, Dick decided to partner with Alaska USA.
“Not only was Jeff Gregg able to meet our requirements and close the loan on time, but he was able to do it while offering competitive rates and terms,” he described. “That was my first experience with a credit union–the time was far shorter than what a commercial bank would’ve taken and it’s a very hands-on experience. In my 30 years of real estate development I’ve worked with many commercial banks and none have performed better than Alaska USA.”
Today Stor-House has grown to include locations in Bellevue, Renton, and Richland, with even more on the way. “We’re currently looking to expand with three additional facilities,” Dick said. “We look forward to working with Jeff and Alaska USA on our new facilities.”
Summer has officially arrived in Anchorage! Come to the 49th State Brewing Company and celebrate the fleeting return of sunshine with some clean comedy provided by yours truly, as well as Fred Koski, Rudy Ascott, Matt Collins, and Anji Stubbs! Click on the image to be linked to the Facebook event page.
Huge thank you to everyone who entered this year's competition or made it out to support local filmmaking. Can you believe this is the 24-Hour Film Royal's third year? Every year we talk about how much larger the community has grown and how much better the quality of everyone's work is becoming, but the leap from last year to this year is staggering! Not to mention that the number of brand new filmmakers who entered this year is incredibly inspiring! As per tradition, here's this year's behind-the-scenes documentary showing just a few of the teams doing what we all love: making movies. Here's to many more years of working together! Click the image for the behind-the-scenes video.
We've got another Friday Comedy Showcase coming up - this time on the last Friday of the month. If you're in the Anchorage area, stop by the Hard Rock Cafe and watch Matt Burgoon, Ben Farleigh, John Norris, Kate Sortino, Jessica Taylor, and me tell jokes before spring officially arrives and everyone spends every waking minute outside doing Alaska stuff. Click on the poster for the Facebook event.
A reporter from Alaska Dispatch News spent the last couple of months attending local stand-up comedy shows and interviewing comedians. Check out the article for a good breakdown of what it's like to be a stand-up comedian in Anchorage, as well as photos from our recent Planned Parenthood Comedy Benefit Show! Click on the image for the link.
I'm hardly the person I imagined I'd be at this point. But this is me, for better or worse, at 30. Photo by the incomparable Kerry Tasker.
Last night's Planned Parenthood Comedy Benefit Show was a success! Thanks to the contributions made by audience members and people online, we were able to raise more than $2,600 for Planned Parenthood!
Come to a stand-up comedy show where 100% of the proceeds go to benefit Planned Parenthood! Featuring Kate Sortino, Jessica Taylor, Myra Mains, Matt Collins, Rudy Ascott, Matt Burgoon, James Engberg, Justin Lawrence Hoyt, and hosted by me. Click on the picture for the Facebook event page.
Since the last First Friday Comedy Showcase was such a success, we've decided to do another one! If you're in Anchorage, come to the Hard Rock Cafe and watch a new bacth of Alaska's funniest stand-up comedians beg your approval. Featuring Cole Crawford, Nathan Hall, Fred Koski, John Norris, and Anji Stubbs, and hosted by me. Click on the poster to be forwarded to the Facebook event page.
Organizing the annual Quick Freeze Film Competition is one of my favorite things to do in the world, and making these documentaries is the culmination of that. Getting to follow all the teams and watch them work is such a great reminder of why the indie filmmaking community in Anchorage is so wonderful. Congratulations to all the filmmakers. I look forward to working with all of you again soon. Click on the image for the behind-the-scenes video.