Harvey Horton spent a few years carefully researching the storage industry and coming up with a detailed business plan. He opened Stuff-It Storage in March 2020, and immediately went into adaptation mode as the COVID-19 pandemic altered our world significantly.
"You adapt and overcome," says Horton, with the pandemic changing the way he expected his business to grow. "The mobility factor especially was much more advantageous for me last year because people were remodeling, getting new flooring, any number of reasons needed to clear out rooms."
Much of Horton's success was his focus on studying the unaddressed but recurring problems of the storage industry. "What I did was started attacking the industry. What I focused on is what isn't working," notes Horton. "I wanted to create a solution for those problems."
It soon became apparent that steel shipping containers were the solution for the most common problems: dust, pests, moisture damage, fire risk and theft. Known as asset relocation containers, or ARCs, these air-tight steel containers at Stuff-It-Storage have been fitted with thick steel lock boxes to prevent theft.
One other common problem is a lack of time to visit a storage unit, or no way to get belongings to or from the location. Stuff-It Storage's valet service tackles this problem head-on, with an ARC delivered to a customer's home and picked up when filled.
Horton also offers custom totes with an identifying bar code that are photographed so that individual totes can be requested for delivery at any time. "When you want particular bins back, we'll bring them to you. This is especially helpful for things like Christmas decorations," says Horton.
To reduce the cost of long-term storage, Horton offers ARCs for purchase, with a minimal lot fee rental. Some clients have purchased ARCs for investments, as Horton also rents ARCs to his customers.
Horton's customer service is another key to his recognition as the Best of Springfield. "When I'm dealing with customers, it may not necessarily be the high point of their year. There's been a catastrophe, or maybe a problem in the house or their business that needs to be fixed. I'm here to serve the customer, whatever they need. If it's within my realm to accomplish or provide it, I will do that."