Small businesses set up shop in storage lockers - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Small businesses set up shop in storage lockers

Alfred Mitamura Alfred Mitamura
Nanette York Nanette York
Rouel Cabotage Rouel Cabotage

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) - When Al Mitamura starts up his monogram machine, he punches out logos and custom made patches in a 300 square-foot storage locker.

"I was paying $1,900 a month for a space three buildings down and it was 1,150 square feet. Now it's costing me $730.00," said Mitamura who owns The Monogram Shop.

His business was the first business to move into Dillingham Blvd. Self Storage to run its operation. What some people rent to store extra stuff, Mitamura and dozens of other businesses  rent for their offices and operations.

"We have souvenir companies. We have slipper companies. We have pharmaceutical companies. We have travel bags. The list goes on and on," Dillingham Blvd. Self Storage owner Nanette York said.

The economy caused a lot of small businesses to forego fancy storefronts, downsize and move into the storage facility. The bays start at $2 a square foot - less than half the cost of work space in Kalihi.

The storage center's fully secured and monitored and comes with amenities.

"If I have visitors or I have business associates or partners or people who just want to talk to me about the business, we have a conference room. And I could use that in all privacy," Rouel Cabotage said.

Cabotage owns a freight forwarding company that ships supplies to the Philippines. He rents two lockers for his HI-PHIL Express business. He rigged up one storage locker with a telephone, fax machine and computer.

"They're able to come in the morning, roll up their door, operate their machinery at a low cost, shut the door at 6 o'clock or work 24 hours if they'd like," York said.

The property's zoned for mixed commercial use so York said it's all legal.

Tenants need a business license and pay rent month-to-month.

Sixty percent of Dillingham Blvd Self Storage clients are now small companies that wanted to get smaller and trim their expenses. 

They thought out of the box and now run their businesses in them.

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