HUNDREDS of retail businesses are run from self-storage units as some businesses move off Main Street and others grow from home-based businesses, it is claimed.
Bournemouth-based Store & Secure says many other retailers have taken up space on its sites over the past five years and the number has grown significantly since Covid.
Almost a third of all retail sales are now made over the Internet and this figure is expected to continue to rise.
The family-owned business said start-ups that had started in “dining rooms and guest rooms” were increasingly joining its mix of customers.
Store & Secure, run by sisters Lucy and Sophie Maidman, opened its first branch in Yeomans Way, Bournemouth, in 2010.
Lucy said: “The growth in this part of the business has been spectacular and we will be able to support many more online retailers and start-ups when we open new facilities.
“We have former traders and market stalls that have moved into our units.
“And many start-ups that have grown from their dining rooms and guest rooms are taking up space with us as they grow.
“A lot of people will come in the morning before their full-time job, pack the orders and have them shipped before they do a day’s work.
“We take deliveries for them and let them know they’ve arrived – a service that’s all included in the cost.
“All kinds of things are sold on our sites, including vinyl records, sealed candy, furniture, baskets, phone accessories, books and clothing. We have units of different sizes available, and customers move in and out based on stock levels and other requirements.
“It’s like having a shopping street in our facilities and every morning and evening while customers take out their orders.
“Some people have built successful businesses in our units and have since moved to their own larger premises.
“An increasing number of customers are those who started trading online during the foreclosure.
“The business element of our business was something we didn’t really anticipate when we first opened, but over the past five years it has grown.
“We identified the trend early and encouraged that part of the business that was massively accelerated by the lockdowns.
“There are several hundred retailers based at our facilities in Bournemouth and Basingstoke. ”