By Christine Graf
Bill and Judy Morris, owners of MORR-IS-Stored, have responded to the increase in demand for self-storage units by expanding their storage facility at 210 Old Gick Road in Wilton.
They opened their storage business in 2000 and now have two locations.
“We started out with four buildings. The facility that we built was nicer than average, and it really took off right away,” said Bill Morris. “We continued to expand slowly. We started out with 100 units, and we will be up to around 1,800 units. This was our fourth expansion.”
Their flagship location at 210 Old Gick Road is a nonclimate-controlled storage facility. When the expansion is complete, it will be home to 800 units.
“We got approved by the Town of Wilton for 100,000 square feet a little over a year ago. That included our boat and RV expansion. We completed half of that in May of this year. We’re going to let that fill up, and then our next go around will probably be next spring,” he said. “The problem with self-storage is that you build a building with absolutely no tenants. We take a fairly conservative approach. As it fills up, we will move on.”
As part of their previous expansions, the couple built a climate-controlled facility at 36 Old Gick Road. That facility now contains 1,000 units.
According to Morris, MORR-IS-Stored has units available in a wide variety of sizes. They range from 5×5 feet to 12×5 feet.
“And we have everything in between. Our units range in price from $60 a month all the way up to $350 a month. The high end is for things like a boat and RV.”
Nationwide, the self-storage industry had experienced rapid growth. The pandemic-related boom in home sales had led to a dramatic increase in demand. According to industry reports, downsizing is the number one reason that American rent storage units.
“The pandemic has helped our business for sure,” said Morris.
Numerous local residents made the decision to sell their homes in order to capitalize on record high selling prices. After selling their houses in just a matter of days, some moved into apartments on a short-term basis.
“People were asking themselves, ‘What are we going to do with all of our stuff?’” Morris said. “That’s a scenario that’s played out time and time again for us.”
The self-storage industry’s growth is also being fueled by the baby boomer generation. More and more baby boomers are downsizing and moving into apartments or condominiums.
“People buy a condo downtown, and there’s only so much room for all of your stuff. Your bicycles, your golf clubs, your sports car, or whatever you may have,” said Morris.
Morris and his wife operate several other businesses in addition to their storage facilities. Bill has been in the excavating business since 1979 and is the owner of W. J. Morris Excavating.
“We’ve also developed several subdivisions. Mostly in Wilton and a few smaller ones in Saratoga,” he said. “We buy raw land, subdivide it, develop it, and sell individual lots off to builders. We also do all the excavating. We finished Craw Farm on Traver Road last year. It’s a 48-lot subdivision.”
The couple also owns and manages 30 apartments in seven buildings on Old Gick Road.
“We do all the management ourselves,” Morris said. “We still answer the phone at night if somebody has a problem with an apartment.”
According to Morris, he and Judy operate their businesses with no employees.
“Judy’s twin sister helps out sometimes, but Judy and I run the whole show,” he said. “We are very hands on, and everything that we have we have built together. It’s been fun. Stressful but fun.”