While self storage is an extremely popular choice in North America, it hasn't yet taken ahold of Europe, but that seems to be changing.
The Federation of European Self Storage Associations (FEDESSA) represents 1,150 facilities, or about 70 percent of the storage facilities in Europe. That means that all of Europe has less than 1,700 storage facilities on the entire continent. Compared to the 50,000 storage facilities in the United States, it's a pretty paltry number.
FEDESSA was formed in March 2004 in order to provide a way to focus the growing European self storage industry. It now provides a common voice for the industry throughout Europe.
However, the number of self storage facilities in Europe are growing. Many countries, such as Germany, are still in the process of grasping the concept. Despite the fact that the country has 82 million people, there are a mere 100 storage facilities. Its first facility was opened in 1997 in Munich, and in the following 6 years, only 10 more appeared on the market. The 90 remaining opened in the last 10 years, which is encouraging to Wolfgang Koehnk, president of the German Self Storage Association.
"Slowly but surely, by being visible on more and more main roads and, of course, with Google's help, we should continue to grow," he told Extra Space Storage.
The Secretary of FEDESSA, Rodney Walker, agrees.
"It took a long time before private citizens, the authorities, banks, and others became aware of this growing industry," he said. "There is still a long way to go in the way of market awareness."
Not all of Europe is having trouble getting on the self storage train. Some countries, such as the United Kingdom, have already seen great success in the storage industry.
Using a storage unit can be a real space saver, especially if you live in a condo or an apartment that doesn't offer much in the way of closet space. But are you getting the most out of your unit? Here are some tips to make sure that you are.
Even if you're just dropping off that one box and you are sure you'll remember the contents, label it anyway. People often keep things for months and years in storage units, and the last thing you want is to have to sort through a dozen boxes to find that baseball mitt that you stored last fall.
Wrap as much as possible
Wrapping un-boxed items like furniture, is a great way to protect them while in storage. Good, industrial plastic wrap will keep dust out and moving blankets and pads can keep wooden items from getting scuffed as they get moved around.
Don't be afraid to use the entirety of your storage unit, and that can mean stacking items on top of one another. Make sure that you know what you are stacking on top of what – you don't want to put your set of antique encyclopedias on top of the Christmas ornaments. Bringing in a piece of plywood to lay over several boxes between layers will also stabilize the stacks and relieve the pressure from the top of the boxes.
Limit the kind of containers
Consider purchasing heavy-duty plastic storage bins as opposed to using cardboard boxes to minimize the risk of crushing anything. No matter what kind of boxes you end up using, though, do your best to keep them uniform. If you have more than two or three kinds of boxes in your storage unit, it makes it harder to organize and stack them.
Fred Otash was one of Hollywood's most notorious private detectives, and up until his death in 1992, he claimed to have exclusive information about the last days of one of the world's biggest stars. However, he could never back his claims up with hard evidence, until now. Otash's daughter, Colleen, recently was able to locate documents to confirm her father's story.
Otash was hired by Marilyn Monroe to install bugging devices in the starlet's home so she could record her own phone calls. He then took to eavesdropping in on the actress's private conversations at home.
He claimed to have heard a wild argument between Monroe and brothers Robert and John F. Kennedy during which she complained that she has been "passed around like a piece of meat." Monroe was famously rumored to have had an affair with President Kennedy, though these rumors have always been denied by members of the Kennedy family.
According to notes taken by Otash, he heard the argument escalate.
"She was really screaming and they were trying to quiet her down." Otash's notes said, according to the Daily Mail. "She's in the bedroom and Bobby gets the pillow and he muffles her on the bed to keep the neighbors from hearing. She finally quieted down and then he was looking to get out of there."
The argument took place on August 5, 1962, the day before Monroe was found dead in her home. Her death was ruled a probable suicide caused by an overdose of sedatives. Neither of the Kennedy's were questioned in relation to her death.
Though Otash always claimed that he had heard this conversation, documents that corroborated his story did not reappear until recently, and he was often dismissed as a liar.
Up until his own death, he claimed: "I listened to Marilyn die."
Amazon.com, the world's largest retailer, is getting into the food business. The company is preparing to roll out a new sector of their already massive corporation: online grocery shopping, a market that, Reuters reported, is one of the few that has not been greatly affected by the online shopping boom of the last decades.
Amazon has been testing the new business, known as AmazonFresh, in Seattle over the last five years. The company delivers fresh produce to costumers using its own network of trucks and storage facilities, and is getting ready to expand to as many as 20 other urban areas by 2014.
Los Angeles will be the second market for AmazonFresh, receiving the service this month, and the San Francisco Bay Area will be next, according to Reuters. While Amazon has not yet officially announced all of the cities that will see the service, there is speculation that it will expand outside the United States.
This new business roll-out is a part of Amazon's attempt to continue growing, after a 220 percent expansion over the last 5 years. It also is a huge potential threat to grocery chains such as Kroger, Whole Foods Market and Safeway. General merchandise retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target may also face hits from AmazonFresh, as the companies both have large grocery sections.
"The fear is that grocery is a loss leader and Amazon will make a profit on sales of other products ordered online at the same time," said Bill Bishop, a prominent supermarket analyst and consultant. "That's an awesomely scary prospect for the grocery business."
Grocers are not going down without a fight, though, and refuse to let AmazonFresh corner the market. Wal-Mart is already testing same- and next-day delivery of online groceries in the San Francisco Bay Area, and already operates a grocery delivery business in Britain.
A chapter for the independently-owned Book House is ending as it vacates the Dinkytown location that it has occupied since 1976.
The merchant of used and rare books is forced to vacate its location near the East Bank of the University of Minnesota due to plans to construct a 140-unit apartment building on the lot and will be moving to a new, smaller space in Dinkydale Mall, reported Minnesota Daily. The new location will be about the third of the size of the book store's former location, meaning that the company will most likely have to utilize a storage facility in order to house their surplus of books.
According to owner Kristen Eide-Tollefson, the new location will be open in July, but she is not certain that the mall shop will be the Book House's permanent home. Eide-Tollefson still has hopes that the bookstore can move back into a larger location eventually, though she has worries about affording the new, higher rent prices. Since developers have opened spaces in Dinkytown for offices, small business owners have been struggling to keep up.
Despite the plans to turn Book House's current location into an apartment complex, employee Matt Hawbaker has hopes that the plans will not be seen through. Residents and business owners in the area are reportedly fighting against the real estate development.
"This deal is not done," Hawbaker said to Minnesota Daily.
There is currently a petition started by a community group called Save Dinkytown making the rounds that calls for an environmental assessment of the apartment project. While the city of Minneapolis rejected the application for the assessment, citing the fact that the group did not provide sufficient evidence that the project would negatively impact the environment, Save Dinkytown will have the opportunity to address the zoning and planning committee at a meeting on June 6.