Celebrities in the Self-Storage Business

Jon Fesmire |
In my last article, I wrote about how, just like the rest of us, celebrities put many of their important belongings in self-storage. While the industry is not booming with stars, there are a few business-savvy celebs who are involved in the industry either as owners or investors. It's no wonder, since self-storage is a booming. Born in 1912, Art Linkletter was a major TV personality since the early days of broadcast television with popular shows like House Party, People are Funny, and the hilarious Kids Say the Darndest Things. He and his business partners at Linkletter Construction began building self-storage facilities in the 1970s, unaware of how much that business sector would boom. In fact, Art Linkletter owned many businesses under Linkletter Enterprises, about 70 companies during his lifetime. Linkletter Storage now appears to have been bought up and folded into other companies, but there is no denying that Link, as his friends called him, was a huge success in television, radio, and business. After a long and fruitful career, he passed away in 2010 at age 97. A former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Barry Switzer now owns and runs Switzer's Locker Room, a self-storage business with 12 facilities in Oklahoma, 3 of them in Oklahoma City. Switzer has been a football player, coach, Fox NFL commentator, and businessman. In 2002 he was elected to the College Football Hall Of Fame, and in 2004 he won the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award. He founded Switzer's Locker Room in 2004. Another member of the Dallas Cowboys family, former player Lance Alworth got into the self-storage business after his football career ended in 1972. At the same time, many of his investments had gone south, so he needed to find a new way to make a living. One day he drove by a self-storage facility. Though the industry was in its infancy, Alworth thought opening a facility would be a good investment. Banks turned him down for a loan, skeptical of the idea, but his friend Glenn Gregory lent him the money he needed to get started. In San Diego, California, he founded All Aboard Mini Storage. In June 2013, Alworth sold his 20 locations to Extra Space Storage, Inc. for $196 million. A couple of other names occasionally associated with self-storage are Flavor Flav and Oscar De La Hoya. Flav, a rapper and television personality popular in the 1990s, attended the Inside Self Storage (ISS) Expo in 2014, and some speculate that he was considering investing. Retired boxer De La Hoya looked into the self-storage industry in 2001, but there is no news on whether he invested or not. Actor and businessman Ashton Kutcher, and basketball player Carmelo Anthony, invested $10 million in the valet storage company MakeSpace. This will very likely prove a profitable investment for them as the valet storage industry is growing rapidly. To learn about MakeSpace and other valet storage companies, check out my article Is Valet Storage Right for You? here in The Renter’s Bent To give you an idea of how fast the valet storage sphere is growing, Peter Soto, Ashley A., and I have been adding approximately one new company to the article every week. Opening a self-storage facility or investing in one can be a great business decision, as the celebrities in this article have learned. However, the market is getting tougher for independent operators. StoreLocal Corporation is cooperative for those in the self-storage industry and helps its members compete with the REITs. If you own a related company, please visit the StoreLocal website to learn more.