MERIDIAN  — Working at a storage company gives a person an inside look at economic trends, Central Self Storage manager Susan Franden said.

For instance, right now there’s a strong demand for large storage units both at Central Self Storage and other Meridian facilities, she said.

“I think a lot of it has to do with, people have been selling their homes a little faster than they expected to, so they have to get out of them a little quicker and they haven’t had a chance to find a new place or they’re building a new home,” Franden said.

Another factor in the demand, she said, is newcomers moving to Idaho.

“I’m still seeing a lot of people coming in from out of state, getting jobs in the area,” she said. They might store their things and live with friends and family until they get settled, she added.

During the economic recession, storage units experienced a different kind of demand.

“I’d say the main thing that we saw (was) people who were losing homes to foreclosure and had to maybe quickly get their things out and put it into storage,” Franden said. “But they tended to find a new … place to rent fairly quickly.”

Another trend is the uptick of people looking for rental space for their RVs and other “toys,” Franden said, which shows people are starting to have more spending money.

Storage facility competition gets steeper

A new 471-unit storage facility — Citadel Self Storage — will open in Meridian on Chinden Boulevard Oct. 11.

“I really think that area has a demand for it, with all those subdivisions,” Citadel manager Roberta Riley said. “... I think that it will be a great location.”

The company has already been receiving calls from nearby homeowners who are interested in storing cars or items at the facility, she said.

But demand for storage is a funny thing, Acorn Storage project manager Jana Hedrick said.

“Storage goes up and down all the time,” she said. “Like last month we rented more than we moved out. This month we are going to move out more than we rented.”

During a good month, 90 percent of the units are full, Hedrick said, and Acorn’s average occupancy rate is 85 percent. This year has been a better year for Acorn than the past five years.

“A lot of storage is transitional storage,” Hedrick said. “The economy is getting better and the area is starting to build again. That’s why I believe it’s better this year than past years.”

Even with new competition moving to town and housing activity posed to slow down in the fall and winter, both Acorn and Central storage companies say they’re confident they will continue to do well in the future.

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