Boise, ID-based Forge Building Co recently announced it landed 10 new self-storage building projects with a combined total of more than 600,000 square feet in six Idaho cities: Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Hailey, Twin Falls and Rupert.

“We’re actually hiring a lot right now and are looking for great talent,” said Roger Burgin, COO, who joined the company in January after working for Prime Group Holdings in Tampa, FL. 

Interested? The company holds an employee appreciation day each month; the next one will feature whitewater rafting. 

“We try to do things that are a little bit out of the box, but  that people are looking for in a company,” Burgin said.     

New Zealand natives Hamish Bell, president and Hayden Farrell, vice president, founded the company in 2007. Today, Forge offers steel buildings for self-storage, RV and boat storage, car washes, airplane hangars and other structures. It also has pre-engineered metal buildings for industrial and commercial applications.

We spoke to Burgin about the company’s growth and the self-storage industry.

What’s driving the demand for so much self-storage construction? 

Roger Burgin

Pent-up demand from customers, with COVID-19 hitting and people losing jobs, taking new jobs, maybe moving. It’s similar to 2009 when we had the economic crash and hit rock bottom. Self-storage thrives in those times because people need a place to put their stuff. 

Also, you’re starting to see Wall Street money (invested), such as by Blackstone, big REITS that want to get into self-storage.   For the last 25 years, people that invested in self-storage, their returns were better than most other real estate assets.  

Tell us about the company’s current growth.

Nationwide, we have 45 projects. We’ve always been a Pacific Northwest company. In the past two years, we’ve been really good about getting out and opening new markets. We’re building throughout Canada, such as in Toronto. We’ve got two projects in Hawaii, and projects in New York and Florida.

A Forge expansion project in Aspen, CO

When you enter a new territory, how do you introduce yourself to a new crowd?

I’ve been in the storage industry for almost 20 years now.  When I first came into the industry, I leveraged a lot of those contacts from my operations days in self-storage. We’re also utilizing social media and growing our marketing efforts.  LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, we utilize those for making connections in the industry, whether it’s a general contractor or an existing self-storage company that’s looking to expand or develop. 

When you go looking for a new self-storage gig, what do you look for?  

People that are just entering the industry, such as an investment group. We’re a lot more unique than other builders.   With me coming from operations, I can talk to those investors about how we can build a property that will help their revenue and give a great return on investment, whether they are a longtime holder or looking to sell it now.

Women are now 78% of all new self-storage customers. So you want your offices well-lit, with great camera systems and security in place. It has to look clean and modern.

We want to show them how we can help them and to give them a product that will give them a great return on their investment.

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Bruce Goldberg