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East Anglia Future 50

Suffolk storage business sees rise in demand as retailers move online

PUBLISHED: 16:33 24 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:39 24 May 2019

From left, John Taylor, branch manager; Martin Tuck, managing director; and Sarah Bliss, assistant branch manager, at the HomeStore in Ipswich  Picture: KEITH MINDHAM

From left, John Taylor, branch manager; Martin Tuck, managing director; and Sarah Bliss, assistant branch manager, at the HomeStore in Ipswich Picture: KEITH MINDHAM

copyright keith mindham photography

Demand for storage is on the up, stoked by a rise in internet businesses, according to an Ipswich storage rental firm.

HomeStore, which has based at Ransomes Europark in Ipswich and Anglian Lane Industrial Estate in Bury St Edmunds, says it has seen a "significant" increase in customers using its flexible self-storage facilities over the last two years.

More than 80% of its units are now rented out - the highest rate in its history.

The firm, launched 14 years ago as part of removals business Safepac in Mildenhall to provide storage for home contents between moves, has domestic customers who use its facilities to house items they cannot store at home, and increasing numbers of commercial customers to store their business stock.

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Managing director Martin Tuck said: "This has been our busiest year to date, with the highest percentage of units now rented out. We have seen an increase from 60% to 80% of our capacity now in use.

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"Awareness of self-storage facilities and the benefits they can deliver has grown rapidly over the last few years, particularly with people running small businesses where there is a need for a safe and secure place to store stock.

"We have a growing number of people operating mail order businesses, including those trading on eBay, who need access 24/7, as well as our reception service to receive deliveries in their absence."

Customer Tina Parker, who ran a gift and home accessories shop, Enspire Gift Home Garden, in Bury St Edmunds until last year, now runs an online business, using HomeStore as a base for her range of goods.

"Going online seemed the way forward, provided I had somewhere to store stock which I could access anytime I wanted. HomeStore seemed the ideal solution for me with its flexible rental agreements, secure units with insurance included and access 24/7. The option for the reception staff to receive goods when I was not there was also attractive," she said.

Andy Knowles, who owns The Soapery, said it had helped him to get his business off the ground. "In the early days, not having to take out a long-term lease was extremely helpful as I didn't have to commit to a fixed timeframe. I also liked the fact that everything was looked after and I could have the flexibility to expand as my business and stock grew."

HomeStore originally specialised in services for the US bases nearby before diversifying into domestic and international removals and haulage.

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