Stash Storage

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What can you do when you see a trend where the success and popularity of an industry that has served as your livelihood for nearly two decades begin to diminish? What are your options when an increasing number of potential customers decide they no longer need the services you have been selling for most of your professional life?

After 18 years in the laundry and dry-cleaning business, Courtney Friedman was faced with such a dilemma. His response was to reinvent himself – to come up with an idea that would offer the public a product that virtually no one else was providing.

Today, Friedman is the founder and chief executive officer of Stash Storage, a Charleston-based company that has redefined the storage industry. In the Stash world, customers no longer need to make seemingly endless trips to what often is a hard-to-find unit among a myriad of similar units – and harder to organize.

Instead, everything you need to store is kept in a climate controlled 25,000-square-foot warehouse in North Charleston. Stash, which currently has eight employees and four trucks, picks up your items from your home or business and digitally catalogs each item for your viewing. If you need something specific, you simply search for it in your online portal, let Stash know you want it and it will be delivered back to you. The process is the same if you need to put the item back in storage.

“We take the self out of self-storage,” Friedman explained. “Our model adds a layer of service that didn't exist before while removing the biggest pain point associated with self-storage. Our space utilization is more efficient than traditional self-storage. In fact, there’s no wasted space. You only pay for what you store. And you don’t have to find a friend to help you move stuff. We do all the heavy lifting.”

“We photograph and barcode everything, so you know exactly what you have in storage. If you want your holiday decorations or a box of books, simply select a date and time and our team will deliver them to you,” he added.

The idea for Stash evolved from Friedman’s first effort to move from a shrinking industry into one with the potential to thrive in an increasingly environmentally conscious world. He explained that in his first business venture outside the laundry business, “he bet against wasteful cardboard use.” The idea was that instead of buying, putting together and then throwing away cardboard boxes, when people or businesses move locations, they instead pack and then unpack 2.5-cubic-foot, 100% recycled and reusable plastic boxes.

“They have ergonomic handles and folding tops, they’re easy to carry and they stack and roll. They’re extremely efficient and make a really difficult move-not so difficult. You can rent them for a week or two or longer, and, after you move, we’ll pick them up. There’s zero cardboard waste and the cost to rent is actually cheaper than the cardboard alternative-which unfortunately most ends up in landfills,” he pointed out.

EcoPax is still a thriving business, while Stash, which started serving customers in June of 2018, is making great strides as well-the company is presently expanding in the SouthEast. One reason for the success of the two companies is that Friedman has combined his ingenuity as a businessman with his community spirit. As part of the “Stash and Share” program, Stash will pick up items that people want to donate to Palmetto Goodwill. The company also partnered with the College of Charleston during the COVID-19 pandemic, storing and shipping items to students who left for spring break last year and were unable to return because of the pandemic.

“We all needed to pull together and help each other out, and we were in a good position to help,” Friedman said. “We’re in business to improve lives and communities.”

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