About Storage Inns of America
In 1980, top songs included the Doobie Brothers’ “What a Fool Believes” and “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summers. Urban Cowboy and The Empire Strikes Back were playing at the movies. Sony launched the Walkman. Pac Man and Cabbage Patch Dolls were all the rage. NHL’s "Great One" Wayne Gretzky scored his first NHL goal. CNN had its first broadcast.
Newspapers reported the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mother Theresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and Baby Jessica rescued from a well. And in the Mansfield, Ohio News Journal this story appeared: “Tom Smith, local firefighter, opens mini-storage facility next to the cable TV office on Lexington Avenue.”
Taking out a second mortgage on his house, Tom set to work. His father was a little skeptical. Would people really pay money to store their stuff? But setting doubts aside, father and son worked together to build the first 40 x 60 storage structure, a brick building with a truss roof.
During construction, a man arrived with a restaurant cooler to store. Tom asked could he wait a month for the construction to be complete? But the man insisted he needed the space now. Not wanting to lose a customer, Tom and his Dad measured out a space on the concrete slab floor. Placing the cooler within the chalk markings, they continued to build around it. They had their first paying customer and they were on their way!
That first 40 x 60 building is still renting storage spaces today, with eleven more storage buildings on site. Tom’s parents, Carlton and Donna, managed the location for over ten years and Tom’s father remembers renting a 10 x 10 to some ladies who held bible study classes in the unit in the summer because the property backed up to a woods, the birds were chirping and it was very peaceful.
There is a Storage Inns of America Near You!
Over the years, many unusual things have been stored at Storage Inns of America: an entire 10 by 10 unit full to the ceiling of Star Wars memorabilia, a thirty-foot airplane, cars in storage for more than 25 years, a half-million dollar RV, the boyhood stuff of an NFL football player.
Managers have discovered people trying to live in the units (that’s not allowed) and one fielded a call from a scientist at Ohio State looking for a place to store live animals for use in the lab. When he was told he couldn’t keep live animals in the unit, he asked if it would be okay to keep dead animals in the climate controlled section.
Storage Inns of America has been a work in progress since 1980. Many of the locations selected would not have been considered prime areas for future development but Tom was willing to take the risk that growth would come.