GRAND RAPIDS -- Forget garage sales -- Leanore Ransom's best finds are the contents of storage units bought at auction.
That's where she bought her Victorian living-room furniture and oak dining set for her Belmont home. These days, her storage-unit finds -- from CDs to tables -- also make up the inventory at her new store, Blickety Block Resale Shop, 1519 Plainfield Ave. Ransom is one of the regulars at the Blair Auction & Appraisal sales, where people have split seconds to bid on merchandise in storage units they usually can't see or examine.
The Jenison-based Blair Auction has carved out a niche as one of the largest storage-unit auctioneers in the Midwest.
Defaulted payments on storage units are another barometer of a stressed national economy, Blair said.
The stress on the economy is apparent in another way: More units are going to auction, but bid prices are lower. The storage-unit auctions, held right outside the storage sites, draw up to 70 people, said Eva Blair, Wayne's wife and the company's office manager.
But they differ from traditional auctions in one important way -- bidders can't see, touch or examine much of what they are buying. They can only briefly stand at the door of the unit and peer inside before bidding begins -- no one, even the auctioneer, can step inside. Bidders must buy the entire contents of the unit, Eva Blair said, whether it's just old clothes, cheap pot and pans or a Honda Gold Wing touring motorcycle stuffed underneath everything in the back.
Storage companies call in auctioneers when bills are not paid on time and they need to recoup back fees and late charges. Before opening her 1,200-square-foot store two weeks ago, Ransom sold her finds at yard sales or online.
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U-Haul brought in $46.1 million from self-storage facilities during the third quarter, up $7 million from the year-ago period.
Jason Berg, chief accounting officer at U-Haul parent company Amerco, attributed the revenue bump to “organic rent-up activity” and occupancy gains from the purchase of facilities. The revenue boost for self-storage was even higher for the first nine months of Amerco’s current budget year—20 percent.
However, the company has been investing heavily to broaden its self-storage footprint over the past year. So far in Amerco’s current budget year, total spending on construction, renovation and acquisitions—including self-storage—has reached $256 million. U-Haul opened 43 new locations during the first nine months of the budget year; 26 of those have storage.

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The information contained herein has been obtained from third parties and we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information. The four big self-storage REITs aren’t the only publicly traded companies that are adding self-storage space at a dizzying pace. Amerco, the Reno, NV-based parent company of move-it-yourself giant U-Haul International Inc., reported Nov. Edward “Joe” Shoen, chairman and president of Amerco, said his company plans to continue growing its self-storage business through the purchase, conversion and construction of facilities.
On the acquisition front, Shoen said he’s heard that the four publicly traded self-storage REITs believe they wield a cap-rate advantage over Amerco.
Shoen pointed out that Amerco also is competing against non-REIT investors for those opportunities. Amerco said the number of U-Haul storage units rented has risen thanks to acquiring new facilities and improving occupancy at existing facilities. In line with the bump in the facility and occupancy counts, Amerco reported nearly $45.6 million in self-storage revenue for the quarter ended Sept.
When reading this, I focused on this quote “I’m not sure they fully appreciate the management intensity of the self-storage business. With fuel efficient vehicles, safe handling and a host of user features, U-Haul continues to be the leader in DIY moves across North America.
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Moving SuppliesIf moving, packing and storing supplies are what you need, A Plus Storage carries all items necessary to help keep things in order. Ransom sells the contents of storage units she has purchased in auctions in her store at 1519 Plainfield Ave.
As the economy has soured, more people are losing their homes and storing their possessions in the units.
His business, Jenison-based Blair Auction, has carved out a niche as one of the largest storage-unit auctioneers in the Midwest.
Ransom never knows what will be inside the storage units she buys until she can unpack them later.

During the third quarter, U-Haul’s self-storage revenue shot up 17 percent compared with the same period a year earlier. As a result, revenue in Amerco’s self-storage segment has grown faster than revenue in the moving segment. 6 call, Berg told Wall Street analysts that revenue growth has been spurred by a jump in rentals rather than a jump in rental prices.
Our investment horizon tends to be much longer than that of our truck and storage competitors,” Berg said. 31—to pay for acquisition of facilities and expansion of its truck fleet so it can avoid racking up more debt. This white paper identifies major trends and best practices in rate management, occupancy analysis, rental contracts and profit management. 6 that from the end of September 2012 to the end of September 2013, it had added nearly 2.2 million net rentable square feet to the portfolio of storage facilities that it owns.
16, U-Haul’s portfolio comprised 1,181 owned and managed facilities, according to a report from Macquarie Capital. He first moved to Austin in 1999, when downtown Austin wasn't nearly as lively as it is today.
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In all, Amerco raked in revenue of $641 million during the third quarter, up 10 percent from the same time a year earlier. The addition of self-storage facilities “has had an enormous impact on the business coming to us,” he said. 30, the average occupancy rate climbed to 85 percent from 83.3 percent during the same period a year ago.
When we called to make a payment on the account, we were A free self storage auction directory offering auction hunters real time auction listings, alerts, tools, how-to resources and more.

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