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The ‘Great Indoors’ Earns Central Virginia Boat & RV Storage TSN’s Facility of the Month Award

By Drew Whitney

As a professional orthodontist who’s owned several private practices over the past 25 years, Jeff Beyer had no ambition to sink his teeth into a self-storage business of any kind. But his longtime passion for RVing and boating around (and far beyond) Richmond, Va., with family eventually led him to a unique side-hustle. And now, that side gig–Central VA Indoor Boat & RV Storage–has landed him Toy Storage Nation’s Facility of the Month Award. 

Jeff’s toy storage story begins in 2018, the year he splurged on a Class A RV and, like most oversized-vehicle owners, needed a safe place to keep it. With the help of Craigslist, he found a spot about 20 miles from home–in an old manufacturing warehouse that was casually operating as a storage facility in the small town of Amelia Court House, Va. There, The ‘Great Indoors’ Earns Central Virginia Boat & RV Storage TSN’s Facility of the Month Awardhe befriended a fellow tenant, Shawn Stern, who operated a computer-tech company to fuel his true passion for car racing, storing his prized performance vehicles at the same site. 

Before long, the two ended up becoming a lot closer than anticipated when they learned that the storage facility they shared in common faced foreclosure. In this unique situation, they recognized a couple of key facts: 1. They would lose their personal storage space in an area with a very limited supply of vehicle storage, and 2. Opportunity was knocking for them to go into business together. So they headed to the bank and asked what it would take to purchase the building.

Making It a ‘Legit Business’

Jeff and Shawn worked together to create a suitable business plan befitting of a Class A RV and boat storage designation. The building, originally engineered as a warehouse for cabinet-manufacturing, spans 260,000 square feet on a comfortable 7 acres. Today, 100,000 square feet offers ample space to safely store 100 to 150 RVs and boats in two segregated rooms, leaving an additional 160,000 square feet for possible future expansion.

“Planning and zoning was so happy that someone was taking over the building with plans to fix it up, they changed the zoning, no problem,” says Jeff. Because the structure was originally used for manufacturing, “the fire-suppression system alone would be worth $2 The ‘Great Indoors’ Earns Central Virginia Boat & RV Storage TSN’s Facility of the Month Awardmillion to $4 million, with sprinkler heads everywhere,” he adds. “The fire-code design is way over the top, definitely overbuilt for RV and boat storage, but it sure gives people a lot of peace of mind when they store here.”

No longer does the business look or operate like it’s doomed for foreclosure. “We turned it into a legit business,” explains Jeff, who anticipates their tenant base will continue to expand even though their facility design differs from traditional sites that offer individual units. 

Tenants receive personalized service from Shawn, who operates the day-to-day business with his son, Hunter, welcoming tenants to their secure, fully gated valet check-in and staging area. It is here that they drop off and pick up their RVs and boats in and out of storage. 

The ‘Great Indoors’ Earns Central Virginia Boat & RV Storage TSN’s Facility of the Month Award“Our tenants really like the valet concept,” says Jeff, who says it gives them a chance to share stories of their adventures as well as let Shawn or Hunter know when they’ll be heading out again–information that helps him know to store their toy in the most suitable, accessible location based on future plans. 

“I think the valet service is a huge delineating point for us, because we have relationships with our customers,” he adds. “Some of them are retired and have time to strike up a conversation, and they just love to talk about their new RV or their showroom coaches, boats and cars. We have tens of millions of dollars worth of stuff parked here, all under one roof!”

Knowing the value of tenants’ possessions, Jeff and Shawn made sure security was a top priority when they took over ownership. The facility is 100% fenced, with high-definition cameras positioned around the entire site, inside and out, where lighting is also a key component.

Each tenant has personalized codes to enter the gated staging area, and “we’re getting ready to upgrade our wi-fi system so they’ll have access to that as well.” But that’s not all, because Centra VA Indoor Boat & RV Storage offers onsite maintenance and inspection services, in addition to power washing to keep vehicles in pristine condition.

Out of the Way, In a Good Way

Situated in Amelia Court House, Central VA Indoor Boat & RV Storage is a short distance to minor highways, yet still an hour to the coastline’s main thoroughfare, Interstate 95. It’s also a good 20 miles southwest of bustling Richmond, but that hasn’t kept tenants from finding the facility. According to Jeff, urban sprawl is leading inward toward town, which will only bring more customers within the coming years. 

When he and Shawn took over ownership of the building, there was just one storage facility nearby, and although a progressive condo-concept of vehicle storage recently took root very close to their site, Central VA’s reasonable rates and personalized service continue to draw a steady business. 

“To build near I95 would probably cost about $20 million, and one of the reasons we’re so successful is because we charge below market value,” says Jeff. “Our goal is to continue to find that sweet spot for what we’re charging and getting annual customers.”

For now, they are satisfied ramping up their customer base, which comprises 80% locals–from their rural county up to Richmond–sprinkled with travelers from as far away as Canada and New England. “We have a really diverse geographic tenant base,” says Jeff, adding that the location puts their site on the way to many beautiful outdoor recreation areas, including Lake Anna State Park, James River, Wilmington beaches and numerous lakes and state parks.

The Road Ahead

With a new website revamp and professional marketing plans in the works, Central VA Indoor Boat and RV Storage is on track for many growth opportunities, but Jeff says he and Shawn enjoy keeping the business intimate enough to stay in close contact with customers. Although they speculate on expansion possibilities for the facility, they are content to keep it as their steady side hustle. 

In this way, Shawn and Hunter can pursue their passion for car racing, and Jeff and his wife of 17 years, Tracie, can continue exploring the country and all it has to offer in their RV. “We did Utah State Parks last year, and we have plans to go up to Maine and Canada soon,” says Jeff. “We also like to travel to see good concerts. We just went to see Kid Rock and Jason Aldean.” 

There’s plenty more to come, he adds. “It’s a good lifestyle!” 

To learn more, visit Central VA Indoor Boat & RV Storage.

The ‘Great Indoors’ Earns Central Virginia Boat & RV Storage TSN’s Facility of the Month Award

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