Simply stated, it is any type of storage activity or storage market outside the typical “vanilla” approach to providing self-storage space. In other words, specialty storage is that unique “niche market” that is a focused, targetable portion of a market.
There are many examples of specialty storage, ranging from climate control and wine storage to vault or safe deposit boxes and records storage. Wine storage, in particular, has become very popular. With its unique characteristics and demands, and given the right demographics, it can be very profitable since it attracts and caters to the affluent renter.
Another example of specialty storage is kayak storage in markets such as Honolulu, Hawaii, where the average home or apartment is much smaller than those on the mainland. Kayaks are unique in that they are long and skinny, not occupying much in the way of square footage, but due to their length they are difficult to store. As such, self-storage facilities in Honolulu have discovered this mar- ket and have constructed special lockers that are designed with the kayak renter in mind.
Boat and RV storage, while somewhat ubiquitous in the self-storage industry, repre- sents a strong and robust form of specialty storage. Boat and RV renters struggle to find suitable, secure, and convenient storage for their vehicles, since many community zon- ing boards prohibit the storage of recreational vehicles on neighborhood streets. As homeowners’ associations become more prevalent, many new developments now have covenants and restrictions that specifically prohibit the storage of vehicles in yards and driveways. Hence, a market for specialty recreational vehicle and boat storage has now been created.