Residents in Pattaya and the Eastern Seaboard can now store their luggage, motorcycles or other personal belongings at a Self Storage facility for instance during the summer holidays, moving house or lack of space. Norwegian long-time resident Jan Olav Aamlid and his wife “Mio” are the proud entrepreneurs behind the much needed initiative.
Between Pattaya, Jomtien and Pratumnak hill, on Thappraya Road, it is almost impossible not to notice the big red sign, on Thappraya Road, outside the new seven floors, shining white building that says “PSS – Pattaya Self Storage”. At night, the neon billboard even changes colours.
For Jan Olav Aamlid, the Norwegian owner and originator of Pattaya Self Storage, it is important that people driving by, notices the place.
“Yesterday a guy drove by, and said “I noticed your sign, can I use your storage?” he says. “That is the whole point.”
The Pattaya Self Storage covers 3000 square meters. It contains 18 drop box units for storing furniture and big items, 216 smaller and bigger safety deposit boxes inside a vault, and more than 200 units of storage of all sizes from fifteen square meters down to one and 228 lockers suitable for suitcases and smaller items. There are 60 mailboxes, 290 square meters of office space for rental on one floor and also apartments for rent. There is also driver service with two cars, which can come and pick up items for the customers.
No space left in the attic
The company is family-run by Jan Olav Aamlid and his wife Sutthamma Thana “Mio”, while their two sons also have a small share. The idea to get into the Self storage business came three years ago, when a friend came to visit them.
“We already had five suitcases and three golf sets in our attic and then he came with his bicycle and two suitcases. No way! We cannot fit any more stuff in the attic, “Mio” said, Jan Olav Aamlid recalls. Then the idea slowly but steady progressed into an actual project. The couple quickly discovered the relevance to their new business adventure.
“There must be a market, when everybody we know is complaining of no place to store items one does not need every day. And also most of the condominiums in Pattaya, does not have storage. And hotel owner often do not let their guest keep their suitcases because of lack of space,” he says.
When people rent an apartment, where every square meter is used for living space, they will often need a place for the golf clubs or personal items, which are valuable to them, but not used everyday. The Pattaya based Norwegian-Thai couple simply acted on the old familiar principle of supply and demand.
A growing market
Jan Olav Aamlid and “Mio” has travelled around the world to go to self storage seminars and to look at other Self Storage facilities for knowledge and inspiration to make them as equipped as possible, before building and later on opening the self storage facility. In Asia it is still a relatively new thing to store items in storage away from home.
“There are 58000 storage facilities all around the world and 46000 of them are in the US. In Thailand for example, people are not yet used to self storage”, he says.
But the business is growing, because there are so many people living with little space at home. It is also great demand for storage from business owners who do not want to use expensive space in their shop for storage, also from the export trade waiting to fill a container to be shipped. Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia has been in the game for a while, but in South East Asia, the business is still small in regards to the actual demand.
Jan Olav Aamlid and “Mio” decided to build The Pattaya Self Storage with seven floors instead of taking up lots of ground, so the building has an underground parking lot and elevators with a lot of space.
“The land here in Pattaya is expensive”, he explains. And the location on Thappraya Road is essential, because a lot of the foreign customers do not have cars so the facility has to be close to where people live.
Security and discretion
Two other factors that Jan Olav Aamlid wants to underline the importance of, is the sense of security and discretion.
“In self storage, people should put their objects in and take them out themselves,” he says. Personal items or objects of a certain affection and value should be handled only by the customers. Same goes for cleaning – people’s possessions have to be in the same state as they left them in the storage facility.
For security reasons, Pattaya Self Storage is supervised by Securitas, with 24 hours surveillance, and there are guards at the entrance below. There is also CCTV flat screen surveillance at the office, and there is a finger scan system, so when the customers come to get their items in or out they have to pass the scan before the doors opens.
Big opening still waits
The Pattaya Self Storage opened the doors on January 15, 2014, and is already available for customers. Two of the floors haven’t been taken into use because the owners want to see what unit sizes are in demand. The entrepreneurial couple has decided to wait for a while for the big Grand Opening.
“Only a couple of weeks after we opened, we have many customers – but the big official opening will be at the beginning of next high season, “ Jan Olav Aamlid says with a smile, without hiding his excitement to create buzz for the Pattaya Self Storage.