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Dallas-Based Storage Disruptor Expands Into Houston Market

Named a North Texas real estate company to watch by the Dallas Business JournalCallbox Storage, a storage disruptor expands into Houston Market.

The company opened an 80,000-square-foot storage facility at 10739 W. Little York Road, Suite 200, on Jan. 8, CEO and co-founder Kyle Bainter told the Houston Business Journal. Currently, there are four employees at the new location, and Bainter expects to hire another six by the end of the year. 

For the Houston lease, Callbox was represented in negotiations with landlord Liberty Property Trust by Gary Collett and Shannon Johnston in the Dallas office of Cushman & Wakefield, along with Michael Foreman in the firm’s Houston office.

But Callbox isn’t a typical storage company — it is a storage service that eliminates the need for customers to go back and forth to a storage unit. In addition to providing a climate-controlled storage facility, Callbox will chauffeur customers’ items to and from the facility on request as well as provide a photo inventory of every item in storage. 

Formed just 16 months ago, the company has seen about 25 percent month-over-month growth in revenue and has a 2018 target revenue of over $2.5 million, Bainter said. However, it’s still far away from the industry’s leaders. Public Storage’s (NYSE: PSA) reported 2016 revenue of $2.56 billion, and Extra Space Storage (NYSE: EXR) reported $991.87 million, according to data from Dallas-based The SpareFoot Storage Beat.

Callbox recently completed one capital raise and will close on another on Jan. 31. To date, it’s raised $5.2 million for this most-recent round. 

Bainter said the company chose Houston as its first market expansion because of its population growth and Hurricane Harvey.

“There is a pinch on the storage market due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey,” said Bainter, who grew up in Houston’s Spring and Klein areas. “Since our platform allows us to service customers all across Houston, we are well situated to help folks as they need storage across the city and not just one neighborhood where flooding may have filled up the storage space in those markets.”

Brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap projected in September that thanks to the storm, Houston’s self-storage vacancy rate would decline 20 basis points to about 10 percent. Yet the California-based company also projected that self-storage vacancy rates in the southwest region are growing. 

However, Dallas-based BBG, a commercial real estate valuation, advisory and assessment firm, recently released numbers about the growth of the industry. Across the nation in 2017, about 900 facilities were built, up from the 600 projects in 2016, according to a Jan. 3 press release.

Houston itself was the No. 3 metro — behind No. 1 Dallas and No. 2 Miami — for the amount of new self-storage units in 2017. The Bayou City had a 16 percent gain in storage space, or 2.9 million square feet.

Even before Harvey, Houston’s self-storage sector had been fairly healthy in recent years, despite the energy downturn. Self-storage is resistant to recessions, and new projects can be fueled by people downsizing and needing to store their belongings during a downturn, experts told HBJ over the summer.

And Bainter sees Callbox booming in the Lone Star State.

“We are a Texas-based and Texas-owned company, and our goal is to roll out our services throughout Texas first,” Bainter said. “This is what we know best. Plus, there is more storage space in Texas than any other state.”

Callbox already has its eyes on Austin, where Bainter expects the company will have a facility open in a few weeks. He projects that the Callbox’s employee count will jump from 20 to 50 people by the end of the year.

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