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93 Celebrating OF DARTMOUTH


BEST THE


Dartmouth


Self Storage World record breaking sailor and property developer, Mark Featherstone, breathed new life into a rundown industrial estate in Dartmouth after buying the site at Collingwood Road in 2011. Three years later, he built Dartmouth Self Storage on the estate, which is managed by his partner and former restauranteur, Jo Moon. The pair talked to By The Dart about this popular business.


What is your background Mark? Mark: I used to run a multi-hull ocean going catamaran for the American adventurer and sailor, Steve Fossett. We used to sail speed records and achieved the outright fastest Round Britain, Trans Atlantic and Round the World records, breaking six world records alto- gether over a 10 year period.


Why did you decide to buy the industrial estate? When my sailing finished I came back here and discovered this estate was earmarked for high density housing. I thought it would be a shame to take what was a productive industrial unit out of the South Hams, with all the jobs that went with it. There was a steel fabrication factory here and it had ceased trading. By regenerating it we were able to create employment in the local area.


What made you decide to go into the self storage business? The estate is spread over two acres. The bit that is now the self storage business had a footprint of 6,000 square feet and was a bit too big for most businesses. We were always be- ing asked if we could store stuff so we decided to open a storage business on this last remaining bit of the site.


When did you open Dartmouth Self Storage? We started in January 2014. We did a year of research and decided, if it was to be successful, the best way to do it would be to a very high level, with a high quality fit out and automatic opening doors so clients can come and go as they please. It was a huge investment.


How has your business been received by clients? Our business has become known mainly through word of mouth. Our clients are a mix of residential people and businesses. The amount of different storage people need is so varied. We have tiny rooms up to very large rooms so the space we offer is very flexible, which is key to giving people choice.


Are all the storage rooms full or is there still space? We’ve just completed the last phase of expansion so that we now have an additional 100 rooms to let. Having a choice of room sizes to offer means that customers can choose the exact size for them which is more cost effective.


Who uses your storage, is it local peo- ple from Dartmouth and the South Hams or people from further afield?


Generally, it is used by people from the South Hams - Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, Salcombe and Totnes. Our clients like it because all of the storage units are inside, they are not shipping containers outdoors in a field. It is a bright, well lit and dry environment and we have plenty of parking space. As it’s such a large facility, we’ve got piped music in here at night when it’s dark to make it less intimidating.


Is your self storage business unique in this area? We are the only one of this kind in the South Hams. I think that is pre- dominately because you need a big facility to do it, and it’s an extraordi- narily expensive thing to set up.


Why do homeowners need more space? Jo: We have a lot of clients who are having renovations and building work done at the moment. In fact, builders now tell people to come and put their stuff in storage to give them a clear space so they can get on with their job. People may also buy a new kitchen, for exam- ple, which they store with us until it’s ready to be fitted. Mark: If you are doing a build at home then buying materials ahead of time is a smart move because


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