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Self Storage Is HUGE, But Often, Still Local


Self-storage facilities have left an indelible mark on the American psyche. From the television show Storage Wars to a segment in episode 399 of This American Life, and from the popular television drama Breaking Bad to the mind-warping time-travel film Primer, storage facilities have developed a solid footing in American pop culture.

Self storage is big.

But do you know just how big? Dive into the facts from the Self Storage Association, and you’ll find an industry that is massive but surprisingly local at the same time.

Big Money

In the United States alone, the self-storage industry generated an estimated $24 billion in 2013 revenues. For context, here are some things that cost $24 billion:

  • About 9 Wynn Las Vegas casinos
  • 92 Boeing 777-200ER jets
  • 600 private islands (at $40 million each)
  • 74 White Houses
  • 1 US government shutdown

Big Size

As of Q4 2013, there are 2.3 billion square feet of rentable self storage in America. That means every person in the country could have about 7 square feet to call his or her own.

Put another way, there’s enough self storage in America to cover the island of Manhattan. Three times. With storage to spare.

Put still another way, there’s self storage enough for everyone in America to hold an epic game of hide-and-seek.

Still Local

Sure, publically-traded companies like Public Storage and Extra Space Storage have a lot of facilities. But there are 30,800 companies that own and operate a single self-storage facility.

This is a space where big and small players exist side by side.

Also, the Self Storage Association notes that the industry contributes over “$3.25 billion each year in local and state property taxes.”

That’s a lot of money. Just maybe don’t keep it all in cash in a self-storage unit.

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