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Self-Storage, Big Business in Canada?

While real estate industry experts are boasting an unsustainable purchase boom in the residential market in certain provinces in Canada thanks in part to newcomers, others are seeing another trend, home improvements and staying put.

A recent survey of 53 industry experts found that many existing homeowners are choosing to stay in their homes and invest in updates rather than upgrading by moving. Self storage is reaping the benefits of increased home renovations, as people find the need for additional storage space for furniture and other belongings in rooms being updated. Going green and decluttering are the new health, design and eco-friendly mottos as experts advise using self-storage for items that people find hard to part with but want out of the house.

In Quebec, self-made millionaire immigrant entrepreneur originally from Turkey, Turan Kalfa, founder of Depotium “self-stockage” recently cashed big by selling his company to an Ontario based self-storage business competitor.

Arriving in Montreal in the early 80’s, Turan Kalfa benefitted from a Canadian government deregulation in 1987 in the moving industry to obtain a license and open his moving company. By 1994, his company had become one of the largest independent movers in Canada. This business experience helped him understand the different needs of his clients and the push and pull factors of why people move. Whether to downsize or ameliorate their living conditions, relocate or establish themselves as new immigrants, Kalfa found that his clients all had one thing in common, storage needs with too few options to store.

Jumping at this opportunity, Kalfa and a few financial partners, quickly opened their first self-storage reconverted warehouse and launched Depotium. Today, a consumers choice award winner consecutively since 1996 and boasting 21 locations and 60 employees, Depotium is considered by some, as one of the largest storage providers in Quebec, servicing clients in French, English, Spanish, Turkish, Italian, German, Danish, Tagalog, Flemish and Russian.

Eventhough Kalfa today is proud of his accomplishments, he remains concerned with the on-going lack of adequate development funding for operators, the limited capacity of financial institutions to understand the recession proof self-storage business and the debilitating government legislation regarding both property tax laws and municipal zoning laws for warehouse re-conversions; concerns that enticed him to sell his business.

Foy and Company in Toronto share similar views on self-storage financing and have since 2010 leveraged their company’s knowledge and connections with Storage Capital Inc. (SCI), an alternative financing group solely focused on lending to Canadian self-storage owners and following market trends

As for the Canadian Self- Storage Association (CSSA) whose mission is to support and represent the interests of self-storage operators across Canada, it has been actively pushing government to review their property tax laws, rebates, building national codes and lien law legislation to better protect self-storage owners from client default payments .

Several industry players and commercial real estate companies both in Canada and the US consider self-storage big business and have been active in developing and locating new investors and partners, an opportunity well worth exploring for business immigrants on the look-out for a recession proof investment :

In 2011, The Self Storage Association in the US, an international affiliate of the Canadian self-storage association published a report stating there were approximately 58,000 self storage facilities worldwide as of Q4 – 2010; with more than 3,000 in Canada and more than 1,000 in Australia. In the US alone, the industry pays approximately 3 billion dollars each year in local and state property taxes .

For persons needing to store their belongings and locate a self-storage facility in Canada nearest them can consult the following link:

For business immigrants interested in exploring self-storage as an investment opportunity or want to know more about this industry can consult the following links:

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