SHEBOYGAN – Champion Storage in Sheboygan has sold five of its 10 locations.
The Janko Group, an entrepreneurial commercial real estate development company, purchased the five storage facilities, which will retain the Champion name. The other five locations will be renamed MVP Storage.
Both MVP and Champion will continue to offer a variety of services including outdoor storage, indoor climate-controlled storage, parking and mobile container storage.
Jerry and Diane Fletcher of Sheboygan started Champion Storage in 1997 with 42 storage units housed in one building. As the business grew, so did the Fletcher family. Today their daughters, Jenna Pack and Amanda Grunewald, form the team that operates over 1000 units in the current 10 locations throughout the county.
The sale of the five facilities has allowed Jerry and Diana to step back from the day-to-day operations of the business, while Pack and Grunewald will continue to play an active role in operations for both companies.
In fact, the Janko Group has hired Pack and Grunewald as co-operations managers, making the change nearly imperceptible for those who will use the storage services.
“The most important thing is that nothing materially changes for our customers,” said Pack in a press release. “Customers still come to the same office and still work with Amanda and myself while the Janko Group simply has us run the business as usual.”
The Janko Group, a Chicago-based company with properties throughout the Midwest, plans to grow the business significantly. It plans to build up to 18 total buildings on the 20-acre plot where the Champion Storage office is located in Sheboygan.
“We’re excited about the future of MVP Storage and Champion Storage and continuing to serve our local communities,” said Grunewald in a press release. “It may be a few years but perhaps a third generation of our family will take the reins someday.”
Contact Marina Affo at 920-242-3032 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @marina_affo.
A ceremonial groundbreaking was recently held at the site of Champion Storage & Rental’s 10th and newest location on W1750 Playbird Road. Excavation has begun on the 20 acre site to prepare for the construction of multiple storage buildings, RV storage units, temperature controlled units and an outdoor parking lot for RV’s, boats and trailers all which are slated to be completed by Fall of 2017. In addition they will be relocating their office to this location Spring of 2018. Business partners, contractors and Chamber members were in attendance at the groundbreaking.
Champion Storage & Rental, LLC recently celebrated their 20th Anniversary on May 27, 2017. In honor of their anniversary they did 20 Acts of Kindness in the community throughout the month of May.
Their acts of kindness ranged from giving Chamber Cash to customers, buying someone gas, donating items to Sheboygan Senior Community, the Sheboygan Food Bank and other local businesses. As well as volunteering at Safe Harbor and The Boys and Girls Club. To view all 20 Acts of Kindness please visit their Facebook page.
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Let’s Talk Achieving – Champion Storage & Rental
Jerry and Diane Fletcher founded Champion Storage & Rental in 1997. And in the nearly 20 years since, the company has experienced success at a truly impressive rate, earning itself a winning reputation as one of the leading providers of storage and rental services in the Sheboygan County, Wisconsin area.
In the context of regional self-storage, Champion’s offerings are some of the most comprehensive you’ll find, spanning a range from indoor, outdoor and climate controlled-storage units, to warehouse-and office-space rental, and everything in between—all offered in a variety of sizes to suit most any customer need.
“We’re almost constantly full,” says Jerry. “That’s because our services are diverse, our facilities are well kept and secure and we have a full staff that’s always available to help customers when they need it.”
When asked what inspired her family’s foray into the storage and rental business, Diane’s answer is relatively simple. “My husband just always really wanted to own a storage facility,” she says, laughing.
Intrigued by the growing number of self-storage developments sprouting up throughout Wisconsin during the mid-90s, Jerry found himself increasingly attracted to the prospect of owning and operating one of his own. Coincidentally, the family already owned a nice-sized parcel of land. So Jerry built a 42-unit storage facility on it, giving the Champion Storage story its official beginning.
“It didn’t take long for us to realize we were onto something,” says Jerry. “We had all the units filled within about 18 months. So we turned around and built another facility. And when that one filled up, we built another. And then another.”
ROOM TO GROW
In 2008, Champion’s self-storage and rental inventory included 432 storage units, 11,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space and an outdoor parking area with room for 50 vehicles. But customer demand for the company’s services was growing—quickly. So, in order to keep up, Jerry and Diane began looking for faster and more strategic ways to expand.
“Buying land and building from scratch is great, but when demand is so high, it’s not very efficient,” says Jerry. “So we started looking for opportunities to acquire existing facilities. And that’s when our relationship with Wisconsin Bank & Trust really began.”
The Fletchers approached Wisconsin Bank & Trust (WBT)—then doing business as Community Bank & Trust—at the suggestion of fellow business owners in the Sheboygan area. And, from the beginning, it was clear to the couple that the bank had a passion and talent for helping local businesses.
“They understand that business banking isn’t black and white,” says Diane. “They take a vested interest in our company, using what they learn to tailor products and services to our specific needs. They also introduced us to SBA loans, which have been huge factors in our growth.”
A FAMILY AFFAIR
After many years of managing and growing the business almost entirely on their own, Jerry and Diane are proud to report that Champion Storage & Rental has become a family affair. Daughter Jenna joined the business in 2013, bringing with her a fresh jolt of marketing expertise. And in 2015, daughter Amanda jumped aboard, giving the business valuable insight into customer service.
“Amanda and Jenna joining the business isn’t something we expected,” says Jerry. “But we’re all pleasantly surprised it worked out this way.”
Together the family serves approximately 850 customers across seven Champion Storage facilities in the Sheboygan County area. And WBT has been a pivotal ally in the company’s ability to remain agile, plan for the future and optimize its cash flow.
“Recently, our money was tied-up in multiple projects,” says Jerry. “An SBA loan wasn’t an option, so WBT created a short-term line of credit that enabled us to pay our bills on time and keep those projects moving.”
Working together, the Fletcher family looks forward to building on the success Champion Storage has already achieved. In fact, with a little help from WBT, the company plans to move forward on a 20-acre development that will steadily expand its business footprint over the course of five to 10 years.
“When you compare apples to apples, WBT really separates itself from the rest,” says Jerry. “They’re champions of small local businesses, and they work very hard to help them succeed.”
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W1750 Playbird Rd.
Sheboygan, WI 53083
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Mon - Fri: 9:00am - 4:30pm