A father and son duo recently opened Car Locker near downtown St. Petersburg in a warehouse retrofitted to withstand hurricanes to offer the best-in-care for luxury car storage, detailing and consignment sales.
Roger Thrun, 58, Car Locker Managing Partner teamed up with his son, Sam, 28, to create the new business.
“We’re going to take really good care of your car but we’re also going to go the extra mile,” he said. “That’s what really, really matters.”
Car Locker is located in a 13,000-square-foot warehouse. The climate-controlled facility sits at 42 feet above sea level to prevent flooding. Thrun said he spent $2 million retrofitting the building to withstand hurricane force winds.
“They cut into the wall from the ceiling to the floor,” Sam said. “They put rebar in it and then they poured that with concrete.”
Thrun said he first got the idea to open an auto storage facility shortly after moving to St. Pete from Wisconsin, in 2015, due to his fifth cancer diagnosis.
“I moved to St. Pete after I had cancer to my pancreas because I thought, ‘how many days do I really have?'” he said. “I couldn’t take the cold anymore.”
Thrun decided to buy a 2014 Porsche 911 S but soon discovered he had no room in his two car garage to park it. Thrun said he asked other luxury car owners where they stored their vehicles and would get the reply, “if you find a place let me know.”
Sam also moved to St. Pete from Wisconsin to spend more time with his dad who ended up beating cancer once again.
“I’m cancer-free for almost five years now. Thank God,” said Thrun. “Sam came down and we started talking about creating a business together and out of that came Car Locker.”
Thrun said his diagnosis also led him to sponsoring a cancer research lab at the Mayo Clinic, called Mark’s Lab, which has helped more than 700 patients get personalized care.
“Basically, we’re taking tumors out of people and putting them into mice and then we give them a list of here’s the drug that worked the best. Here’s the drug that worked the worst,” he said. “We have a 54%, five-year survival rate. Nationally, it’s only 9%.”
Thrun said he knows first hand how important it is to enjoy every minute possible and that’s what he wants to provide for his Car Locker customers.
“I mean, the word ‘enjoy’ is important. It’s not ‘safety’, it’s ‘enjoy,'” he said. “We want our clients to get the maximum enjoyment out of their assets.”
Car Locker can hold up to 80 cars. It costs $450 a month to lease a spot. Thrun said they’ve already leased 20 spots.
“We anticipate this is going to be sold out pretty quick actually,” he said. “It’s like a health club for your car and we’re trying to maximize your use of it.”