Jordan Wright started Harvest Property Management in Wichita, KS in October 2020 – right in the heart of the pandemic.
“It was kind of a crazy time to start a business, but we took that leap of faith and have been growing ever since,” said Wright, director of operations and owner of Harvest Property Management.
Harvest became property manager Oct. 1 at MoreStor Self Storage in east Wichita at 143rd Street East and Kellogg and introduced a novel concept—man caves for rent.
Harvest, which manages the Cox Produce building in Old Town, Midtown place Apartments near 8th and Waco, and east Wichita’s Spanish Villas, now faces the challenge of marketing man caves – and to stress renting, not owning, to potential customers.
H. Percy Vanderslice LLC owns MoreStor Self Storage, which opened in 2020 at 368 S. 143rd East in Wichita. It has 55,200 square feet of self-storage space and 24,000 square feet of flex space for the 24 man caves.
“They were built identically, some with additional walls that were added; some walls were taken out,” Wright said. “One thousand square feet is the standard, but we have some that go to 2,000 or 3,000.”
Wright said 21 man caves were occupied as of Oct. 1.
He said his company aims to add more commercial properties outside of Wichita in both Kansas and Missouri. To find out more, continue reading the rest of our conversation below.
How do you market the man caves?
Jordan Wright: A couple of different ways. For small businesses, we can offer it as an incubator or to be used for product distribution. We’re also marketing man cave sites at car shows and to some of the hobbyists in the area looking for a place to park their luxury vehicles. They may not want to store them in their home garage.
We have people that run businesses out of them, such as landscaping or electrical work, and product distributors, such as for beverages or clothing.
What is the rental cost?
It starts at $850 per month. That’s the base model, with no air conditioning, no garage door opener (they use manual entry instead). If you want to add any of those things, we amortize them over the life of the lease (one year minimum) and your rent increases by the same amount.
We have a bathroom in every space, so they don’t have to worry about using the public restroom. Every unit is individually metered for room temperature; they have full control over it.
It’s a good place to just get away. Some have a couch and big-screen TV to listen to while they tinker with the car or whatever it is that they do.
The biggest objection is they expect a [lower] monthly price, as they have that conventional self-storage mindset, not looking to spend $1,000 today. We can refer them back to their traditional self-storage model; we can meet their needs.
Why rentals rather than sales?
The owner who built this place had previously sold them as condo-like units, with the thought of a one-time profit. But we lease them out and get recurring revenue from this.
How have you grown the number of employees from eight in October 2020 to 19 today?
When we started this, we had one retail building we were managing. From there we grew into additional commercial and retail buildings, and started getting into managing duplexes and apartment complexes. Now we have a maintenance staff and apartment managers. It takes a team to run these things. For example, we have a 320-unit building here in Wichita and we assign four employees to it.