While it’s pretty common for people to tell others to stay in their lane, at Bonaventure we sometimes like to try a different route. Our business model of owning apartments and investing in communities hasn’t changed a bit. But we did take a slight detour earlier this year to experiment with a different kind of investment: a self-storage facility.

Now, I don’t want to confuse anyone here. We’re not suddenly going to invest in different types of commercial property all over the place. But we saw an opportunity where the numbers worked and, more importantly, we recognized the potential benefit to our residents.

We got out of our lane because we think self-storage could be a key to housing affordability and to help small businesses.

To explain: people rent an apartment that’s bigger than what they need 90% of the time. They pay more all year because of the 10% of the time that they need that extra space. A second bedroom is great if you can easily afford it, but for residents whose budget is tight, we’re providing a different solution to their need for space. That way, they can rent an apartment that’s the actual size they need.

If you work from home, you may not want a desk taking up space in your bedroom. Or you maybe you must meet people in person occasionally and would rather not invite them into your home. Instead of opting for a second or third bedroom, you can easily work from the clubhouse or reserve one of our conference rooms for a meeting.

If you run a home business, you may have supplies or inventory that you need to store, so you rent a two-bedroom apartment. That can be an expensive way to get space for your business.

Here’s where self-storage comes into play: you can lease a small storage unit to store materials and inventory, then rent a one-bedroom apartment. The total cost of your home and your storage unit is cheaper than if you rent a larger apartment.

A lot of people can’t run a small business out of their home, but they don’t need an expensive warehouse or storefront. Having a secure space where they can store stuff provides a valuable alternative.

As we know, small businesses are the vast majority of job creators in this country. A self- storage unit can be a great tool to help people become entrepreneurial. Leasing a storage unit costs very little, and, as their business grows, they can rent a different size unit. Plus, it’s a short-term lease so they don’t have to make a 10-year commitment.

Self-storage can be an important amenity to apartment residents and be part of the mosaic of building a vibrant community.