Company | History 2018-03-09T15:11:56+00:00

The History of Self Storage

People are becoming increasingly mobile. They also own more and more stuff. They buy new furniture or inherit little treasures but then either the cellar is too small or the garage too damp. Throwing things out is not always an option, be it for sentimental reasons. However, costs for living and working space are on the rise in metropolitan areas and so moving into a larger apartment is not always possible. For more and more people and businesses, space is becoming an issue that has to be dealt with. The question remains: where does one store personal belongings, documents and goods?


Self Storage is the solution. It has been common in North America, where small land owners in the West began to build huts, which served as temporary storage rooms to the locals as early as the 1960s. This early rural trend has since become a common business in large cities all across the US. In today’s times of do-it-yourself, more and more people are storing their belongings, not in a hut in the countryside, but in local, temporary, clean and secure storage units, which are accessible at all times.


To Americans, renting these boxes comes as naturally as renting a car on vacation. You drive by yourself, you store by yourself. Self Storage has become an urban trend.

This trend arrived in Europe as late as 1984, when the Carl Hanauer, a Brit, was the first to convert stables into storage rooms in London. The trend cottoned on in France, Belgium and the Netherlands and then also in Germany.

LAGERBOX – A Trend from America comes to Europe

1997-1999: The predecessor of LAGERBOX, Bernheims Mini-Lager, opened its first storage building in Düsseldorf, as one of the first self-storage providers in Germany. It is quickly followed by further stores in Düsseldorf and Frankfurt, which was aptly named “Access”.


2001: Four years after the establishment of Bernheims Mini-Lager, today’s owner and manager Peter N. Blauw comes to LAGERBOX, who laid the foundation stone for rolling out the business concept all over the country. Soon the term LAGERBOX, which means storage box in German, became synonymous with the concept of Self Storage itself. Similarly to Kleenex becoming the generic word for paper handkerchiefs, LAGERBOX turned into a brand and soon became the new company name. Under the new brand “LAGERBOX – secure, clean and dry”, a supplies store is added to most LAGERBOX stores in Germany providing customers with supplies for moving, transporting and handling goods. These include the classic cardboard box, book boxes, furniture blankets and bubble wrap as well as on-site handling aids like hand trucks, trolleys, and lifting carts.


2002-2003: The stores Düsseldorf 1 and 2 and the store in Frankfurt are expanded. For the first time, the complete archives of a large customer are put into storage.


2005: Until now, self-storage consisted mainly of storing furniture for private or business customers.  In 2005, the concept as we know it today is brought to full fruition. Everything is about service. The store in Frankfurt provides LAGERBOX customers with mailboxes and office space. Secure, clean and dry. Since the middle of the year, the number of private customers who realize the benefit of self-storage is increasing: instead of cluttering the garage at home, goods are stored secure, clean and dry at LAGERBOX.


2006: Another big milestone: the purchase of the two Devon stores in Berlin (Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, today: Berlin 1) and Cologne-Ossendorf (today: Cologne 1) enables customers at these locations to benefit from the LAGERBOX concept.


2007: Peter N. Blauw buys all the shares to LAGERBOX and takes over ownership of the LAGERBOX Holding GmbH & Co. KG. As managing shareholder, Peter N. Blauw is closely involved in business and goes forward with the rapid expansion of the company planned for 2008 and 2009.


2008: A second store opens in the district of Poll in Cologne in October.


2009: The LAGERBOX location in Leverkusen opens four months after the opening of Cologne 2. Two months later, the store in Stuttgart is completed and is the first self-storage provider of the region. Peter N. Blauw goes off the beaten path in Berlin. A second Berlin-based branch is opened in Neukölln. For the first time in Germany, a LAGERBOX store is located top floors of a former department store. On the ground floor, common retail companies like ALDI, DM and H&M open up stores. This brings LAGERBOX closer to its customers and vice versa. These were important steps on the path to expansion. Customers can now access their LAGERBOX storage units at nine different locations.


2010-2012: The demand for self-storage is rising and some stores are already too small and awaiting expansion. Cologne 1, for example, gets an extension of 5,000 square meters, followed by Cologne 2, Stuttgart, Leverkusen, and Düsseldorf in 2010. Frankfurt, Berlin 2, and Düsseldorf 1 and 2 are expanded and fully reopened some months later. After significant construction work, the 10th LAGERBOX store opens in Essen. And Russia is beckoning! LAGERBOX supports a business partner in Moscow and opens its first Russian self-storage location just outside Russia’s capital. Adapted to the regional market, the refined LAGERBOX concept is established outside of Germany for the first time in 2010.


2012: More and more Russian customers are attracted to the concept of self-storage. In cooperation with Russian partners, a second location is opened in Moscow to accommodate expanding business in Russia. Meanwhile in Germany, construction activity is in full swing. A new store opens in Leipzig in March.


2013: The self-storage business and the demand for flexible storage are growing rapidly. So is the search for new opportunities for expansion. Our services are expanded to cover new areas in the self-storage business. Goods receiving service is added to the self-storage repertoire and is in high demand. Business customers are increasingly convinced by the self-storage concept and store their goods in various LAGERBOX locations at the same time. Sales reps and field staff are glad about additional space in their own four walls. The Düsseldorf 2 location moves into a new and expanded building on Königsberger Strasse together with all its customers. The new building provides LAGERBOX customers with everything they need including a more convenient and central location.


2014: New customers in Chemnitz can now benefit from the wide range of self-storage services. An old warehouse building, located in Reichsstrasse 1b, is completely redone and converted into a LAGERBOX self-storage facility. Chemnitz now also does Self Storage. The 13th LAGERBOX location opens in Dortmund at the end of August and meets the local need for storage opportunities in the region. The store in Dortmund opens on the former Coca Cola premises in Kaiserstrasse. The year is concluded by the opening of yet another LAGERBOX store in Krefeld in a vibrant commercial area. The aim of LAGERBOX, Germany’s oldest self-storage provider, is to provide flexible and convenient storage space in all the country’s large urban areas.


2014: The LAGERBOX locations in Dortmund and Krefeld are opened shortly after another as announced. In Dortmund, customers are not only provided with flexible storage space for rent, but also vehicle storage for convertibles, sports cars and caravans. The parking spaces are predominantly housed in purpose-built underground parking lots, which protect vehicles against hail and storms. We take your 4-wheeled luxuries very seriously and protect them against vandalism and theft. Finally, a lack of space and fear of damage of these precious goods could be forgotten. Drive-in areas now enabled our customers to drive right in front of their storage units and fill them up under a roof. In Krefeld, LAGERBOX went on trying new things and put the new store in the former Kaufhof department store building right in the city center. The concept of the Krefeld location is similar to the store in Berlin-Neukölln, where the self-storage facility is adjacent to common retail businesses. With two new openings in Northrhine-Westfalia, LAGERBOX underscored that the market was ripe and went further down the path of expansion. More LAGERBOX self-storage stores were planned for 2015.


2015: LAGERBOX expands its range of storage rooms in Cologne-Ossendorf. On 420 square meters on the ground floor, LAGERBOX builds 90 new rooms sized 1 m³ to 12.5 m². The drive-in area enables customers to drive right in front of their unit. The potential for self-storage in Cologne is increasing parallel to the scarcity of affordable real estate and rising living costs. In Cologne-Ossendorf, customers gain great flexibility in renting space, storing furniture, archiving files, and replacing their cellars.


2015: LAGERBOX builds a new facility in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen. Spread out across two levels, the facility has 325 storage units in the sizes 1 m³ to 25 m² on a total floor space of 420 m². Before these necessary expansions, the company was working at almost 100% capacity. The new developments enabled LAGERBOX to meet the demand for secure, clean and dry storage units for personal or business use. The self-storage boom continues. The expansion of the locations Düsseldorf-Lierenfeld, Leipzig, Dortmund, and Cologne 2 enters project phase.


2015: LAGERBOX announces the construction of two additional self-storage locations in Dresden and Berlin. In Berlin, construction work commences on the intersection of Sterndamm and Michael Bruckner Strasse in the Treptow-Köpenick district. Completion is due for mid-2017. This new store is located in the middle of residential areas and newly attracted businesses, including DIY stores and shopping malls. The store in Dresden is built on the intersection of Hamburger Strasse and Bremer Strasse, just five minutes away from the city center. Similarly to Berlin, there are several residential areas in the neighbourhood and many other companies have set up shop at the same attractive location. Completion of the store in Dresden is due in 2016. Including these two locations, LAGERBOX now owns 16 self-storage facilities.