Whether you have ever had the need to stash your extra stuff into a storage unit or not, chances are you’ve driven past one of the thousands of Public Storage facilities and wondered…what the heck is that?

So, what is Public Storage?

The company is the world’s largest self-storage operator, so big in fact, that it’s name is often misused as catch all descriptor of self-storage in general. The company is one of the greatest success stories in American business, and with its signature orange signs dotting highways coast to coast, there is little chance you haven’t come across one of their locations.

If you want to learn more about this quintessential American brand, keep reading below.

1. Public Storage is a brand name, not another name for self-storage.

While some people mistakenly use “public storage” as a generonym to describe any self-storage or mini-storage facility, that isn’t correct.

2. Public Storage is the world’s largest self-storage company.

In 2017 the company generated revenue of more than $2.5 billion. That is more than the revenue generated by its four largest competitors: Extra Space Storage, CubeSmart, Life Storage and U-Haul.

3. Public Storage owns more storage facilities than any other company.

As of December 31, 2017 Public Storage owned 2,386 self-storage facilities in the United States.

4. Public Storage started with an investment of $50,000.

Public Storage was founded in California by Wayne Hughes and Ken Volk, who each put up $25,000 to start the business.

5. The first Public Storage location opened in El Cajon, CA in 1972.

The grand opening was a fiesta-themed party, complete with a mariachi band.

6. The first things stashed at a Public Storage facility were oil cans.

The first customer worked for STP Motor Oil and needed to store oil cans that were piling up in his driveway—at his wife’s insistence.

7. The signature orange-painted doors have a secret purpose.

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Painting the storage unit doors orange was more than just an aesthetic design choice, they are meant to attract the attention of customers driving along the nearest road.

8. Public Storage orange has a hexadecimal value of #F7670B.

The color is also known as luminous vivid orange.

9. Co-founder Wayne Hughes was part of the Dust Bowl Migration.

Hughes moved with his family to Southern California to escape the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, a massive drought that decimated parts of the United States  in the 1930s.

10. Wayne isn’t actually his first name.

The cofounder of Public Storage was born Bradley Wayne Hughes, and is often identified by his first initial, as in: B. Wayne Hughes.

11. Wayne Hughes’ first job was a paper route.

Hughes started delivering papers for the Los Angeles Herald-Express when he was 10-years-old.

12. Wayne Hughes has a net worth in the neighborhood of $2.6 billion

According to Forbes, Hughes is one of the 400 richest people in the country. His daughter, Tamara Hughes Gustavson, and his son B. Wayne Hughes Jr., are also billionaires.

13. Wayne Hughes has owned thoroughbred racehorses since 1972.

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Hughes’ colt named Action This Day won the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. In 2013, his filly Beholder won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

14. Wayne Hughes’ estate in Lexington, Kentucky holds an important part in race horse history.

The breeding farm foaled several legendary racehorses. Hughes acquired the property in 2004.

15. Public Storage became a REIT in 1995.

The company officially became a publicly traded REIT when it merged with its acquisition arm, Storage Equities, in 1995. A REIT is a real estate investment trust, which is a company that owns or operates income-producing real estate and meets a variety of regulatory guidelines.

16. The company joined the S&P 500 in 2005.

The S&P 500 is an index of the 500 largest publicly traded companies.

17. Public Storage bought Shurgard Storage Centers for $5.5 billion.

In 2006, Public Storage paid $5.5 billion to acquire Shurgard, a storage operator with 624  facilities in the United States and Europe. Public Storage had previously attempted to buy the company twice before.

18. Public Storage owns self-storage facilities in Europe.

Public Storage changed the name of Shurgard’s facilities in the United States, but it still maintains the brand name in Europe. As of December 31, 2017 Public Storage owned 222 facilities in Europe in the following seven countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

19. Public Storage has its biggest presence is in California

The company owned 426 self-storage facilities in California as of December 31, 2017. The company’s next biggest market is Texas with 297 facilities, followed by Florida with 285 facilities.

20. Public Storage also owns a lot of office business parks.

Public Storage owns PS Office Parks, Inc., which operates 98 office parks in the United States.

21. Public Storage once had a float in the 2014  Rose Bowl Parade.

The float featured three aliens in a spaceship, and even won Grand Marshal’s Award.

Sources:

https://www.publicstorage.com/blog/public-storage/public-storages-history-two-friends-and-an-idea/

https://www.forbes.com/profile/b-wayne-hughes/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._Wayne_Hughes#cite_note-forbes-2014-1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Storage#cite_note-one-2

https://s2.q4cdn.com/344238127/files/doc_financials/AnnualReports/2017/S04-PDF-ar.pdf

Photos by: By Ed Chambliss – I (Ed Chambliss) CC BY 3.0, Link

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Alexander Harris