Retailers deserting high streets can increasingly be found in storage units, with hundreds taking space in Store & Secure’s premises over the last five years.
Since Covid struck, the number moving into the company’s huge sites in Bournemouth and Basingstoke has risen dramatically. The family-run firm is making it possible for the UK to once again become a ‘nation of shopkeepers’.
With the lockdowns making online purchasing second nature, many retailers have moved their businesses online only. Almost a third of all retail sales are now made over the internet and it is a figure that is predicted to grow.
Businesses taking space in a storage unit can increase revenues because there are so few overheads compared with having a high street presence. Start-ups that have grown out of ‘dining rooms and spare bedrooms’ are also moving into Store & Secure’s premises.
Lucy and Sophie Maidman run the multi award-winning business that opened its first branch in Yeomans Way, Bournemouth, in 2010. Lucy said: “The growth in this part of the business has been dramatic and we will be able to help lots more online retailers and start-ups when we open new facilities. It makes complete sense for retailers to go online only and base themselves in our units because it is so much cheaper than having a shop.”
“There are no rates or utility bills to pay, no parking or access issues and of course it is completely secure with seven-day-a-week access. We’ve got former shopkeepers and market stall holders who have moved into our units. And many start-ups that have grown out of their dining rooms and spare bedrooms are taking space with us as they get bigger. Many people will come in the mornings before their full-time jobs, pack up orders and get them sent off before doing a day’s work.”
“We receive deliveries for them and let them know they’ve arrived – a service that is all included in the cost. All manner of things are sold from our sites including vinyl records, sealed sweets, furniture, baskets, phone accessories, books and clothing. We have different size units available, and clients move in and out of them depending on stock levels and other requirements.”
“It is like having a high street in our facilities and each morning and evening as clients get their orders out. Some people have built successful businesses in our units and have since moved out into their own larger premises. An increasing number of clients are those who started online trading during lockdown.”
“The trading element of our business was something we didn’t really anticipate when we opened, but in the last five years it has developed. We identified the trend early and encouraged that part of the business which has been massively accelerated by the lockdowns.
“There are several hundred retailers based in our Bournemouth and Basingstoke facilities.”