Central Mini Storage is a family business. Although it has been built and run by our family it would not have happened without the support of many friends and extended family. The idea to start it, as well as lots of help along the way, came from Ron Phillips, a man of many talents and great service to others.
The first three of five lots were purchased in 1996 and we began making plans to build. We wanted to build three buildings, but only had enough money for one, so that is what we built. We raided our savings and our 401K fund and borrowed from our relatives for enough to get started. We had no building experience, only some time, a little money to invest, and an entrepreneurial desire to build something. We were taking a big risk, breaking into a market we knew very little about. Would there be enough demand to fill up the building, or would we be working for a long time to pay off this blunder?
Excavating was done early in the winter of 1996 and spring of 1997. With faith and prayer we enlisted our young sons to help with the construction. We poured concrete early in May in 1997. With the help of a lot of young men and good friends, we got the job done in spite of some falling snow.
Our oldest sons were in High School, but by the time the concrete was cured and ready, school was out. Together we learned how to erect a metal building; it was challenging, but fun. Just the kind of thing that is good to keep young people out of trouble in the summer. In July we had the building up, and the roof on, but had not installed the doors yet when we got our first customers. We had to scramble to finish a couple of units for our first two tenants. The fence was not up and the security system not installed yet, but they were in a hurry.
With help from our relatives we were able to get the lights, security system and fence operational. We still had no heat and the office was less than Spartan. We put the computer in a box so it could stay warm with its own heat during the winter. This has been an adventure.
After the building experience of our first year we were not sure if there would be enough market to make this a successful business or not, but we felt that even if it became an economic failure, the process was a huge success in other ways and would be well worth whatever we might lose. Our sons all got some valuable building experience that they would not have received in any other way. We all benefitted from increased self-confidence, as well as the satisfaction from creating something. Best of all, we had the opportunity to work together every day for the entire summer. As a dad, I would not trade that blessing for anything.
After that first year, we basically repeated the building process a few more times and with a slightly different crew as the older sons left home temporarily and the younger ones took their places. We are now up to six buildings, with room for more.