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Storelocal Cedar Rapids, 2022 Facility of the Year Winner, Constructs First Smart Storage Facility in Cedar Rapids, IA

Jan 09, 2023

Storelocal Cedar Rapids Takes a Smart Approach to Self-Storage New Construction

Every day on his way home, Brian Hoel, president of BraineTrust Storage LLC., passed an old and run-down building. Over time, he had the idea to turn this dilapidated building into something profitable. That's when he discovered self-storage. With the idea to convert this existing building and property into smart self-storage, Hoel brought in the experts to conduct a feasibility study. The property was located in a great neighborhood with strong demand. Unfortunately, the building couldn't be salvaged and Hoel had to go back to the drawing board. That's when his consultant recommended new construction.

Switching gears from conversion to new construction, Hoel wanted to design a one-of-a-kind facility. Originally, the plans were to construct a facility designed around and built entirely out of recycled shipping containers. The renderings were beautiful, but when the final budget estimates came in $2.5m over, the lender pulled out, and back to square one they went. The question remained, how do you create a modern self-storage facility within a reasonable budget? 

Can You Make a New Self-Storage Facility... Sexy?

How about the color black? Did you know, it's actually proven that wearing the color black makes you appear more intelligent and more attractive? The same can be said for Storelocal Cedar Rapids' sleek and sexy, all-black design. 

Storelocal Cedar Rapids, IA Facility Exterior Storelocal Cedar Rapids, IA Facility Exterior  

Hoel knew he wanted to focus on large, class-A, and unmanned facilities. However, unmanned didn't mean un-resourced. He wanted to run his smart storage facility remotely, with confidence, and that's when he turned to Janus International and the Nokē Smart Entry System.

Hoel says, "After one talk with the Janus and Nokē team, I knew we needed them on board. The simplicity of the Janus doors and hallway systems coupled with the high-tech ease of use that Nokē Smart Entry provides fits seamlessly with our ethos: Smart. Spacious. Simple."

Hoel first got introduced to Nokē Smart Entry through the Storelocal co-op. He was trying to figure out how to do access control at his new facility. When he found out that Nokē ONE could come pre-installed on the roll-up doors, it was a no-brainer. Hoel comments, "Getting the smart locks pre-installed on the roll-up doors made our life so much simpler."

Storelocal Cedar Rapids, IA Hallway with Nokē ONE Storelocal Cedar Rapids, IA Nokē ONE with Tenant App

Navigating the Learning Curve

Being in the Midwest, Storelocal Cedar Rapids is the first smart storage facility in its area to implement Nokē. There was a learning curve to educate the market on why they should be paying more for a smart facility compared to a traditional drive-up facility. However, the word has spread like wildfire and Storelocal is seeing its lease-up increase quickly.

Hoel says, "When people realize they can access their storage unit 24/7, rent units online, and gain immediate access, they come running. Nokē removes all obstacles between the tenant and their unit."

Storelocal Cedar Rapids doesn't capture any in-person rentals. Everything is done online and the store is seeing about 85% of its traffic coming from mobile devices. Automating the rental process has been instrumental to their business model, and they are even charging premiums over their competitors for smart units.

Taking the Extra Step

In addition to Nokē, Storelocal Cedar Rapids has installed high-tech cameras around their facility to perform facial and license plate recognition. With this advanced feature in self-storage security, they can track each tenant throughout the property and facility which takes security to the highest level. Tenants can rest assured that their belongings are safe and secure inside their smart storage units at all times. 

Storelocal Cedar Rapids, IA Security Camera   Storelocal Cedar Rapids, IA Security Camera with Facial Recognition 

Another cool feature that sets Storelocal Cedar Rapids apart from its competition is its indoor, heated garage. With winter weather coming in and temperatures falling into the teens, tenants can use the enclosed space for loading and unloading their vehicles. This means they can access their storage unit without ever having to step foot in the freezing temperatures. 

It's no surprise that this outstanding project, Storelocal Cedar Rapids, was named the new construction category winner for MSM's 2022 Facility of the Year contest. If you're interested in how to get started building your own smart storage facility, contact us today. 

Janus hallway system with yellow roll-up doors and lockers

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