The Reybold Group, a full-service construction company based in Newark, DE has found an innovative approach to generating additional revenue at its marquee self-storage facility—providing soundproofed recording space to podcasters and bands.
The company, primarily a commercial and residential developer, had previously sold off all of its storage assets about 12 years ago, but returned to the market in 2021 with the opening of Reybold Lifestyle Self Storage in Bear, DE. The 71,000-square-foot storage facility features 518 units, as well as 93 parking spots for RV and Boat storage at a satellite location.
Among the storage options, the facility offers a band practice studio with soundproofing and a podcast studio with soundproofing and equipment.
‘Is this thing on?’
According to Jennifer Corbett, Commercial Leasing Operations Manager for The Reybold Group, the company was looking for an opportunity to branch out and get more people into the space.
“People always seem to want to practice not in their garage, so we offer a soundproof rental by two-hour blocks,” she said.
The band room is 10×10 feet and has carpeted floors and soundproof walls, while the podcast space is 10×15 feet with two desks facing each other, microphones, and a mixing board to do interviews.
“All you need to do is settle into your recording space and start talking,” Corbett said.
The growing podcast niche
It turns out dedicated recording space is a hot commodity for the nation’s rising legion of podcast hosts.
It is estimated that 82 million Americans tuned in to a podcast in 2021, with about 100 million listeners expected by 2024, according to Statista. In 2018, there were around 197,000 podcasts made, according to ListenNotes. That figure has mushroomed to around four million podcasts available to listen to today, although only about 500,000 to 700,000 are considered active.
Content creators have consistently cranked out 28 million podcast episodes annually over the last few years. Their goal? To earn a piece of the growing pot of advertising and subscription revenue pouring into the space. Advertising revenues in the U.S. podcasting industry are projected to reach an estimated $4 billion next year.
“We have had a list of people waiting to use the space, a lot of interest in it, and people call us about it,” Corbett said, “A lot of people are looking to not be recording in their closet.”
That is a win for the consumer, and it is a big win for Reybold—which can generate more cash in one day with its podcast space than a equivalent size storage unit does in a month.
Reybold rents the band and podcast spaces rent for $80 per two-hour block, and the full day for $300. Currently they are only available between 10am to 6pm.
That same-size self-storage unit is $275 a month.
From the kitchen counter to the private office
The unique offerings at the facility doesn’t stop there. The operator has also had success with six fully-furnished private offices. The offices have been 100% occupied since the facility opened, Corbett said.
“A lot of people started teleworking from their kitchen counter during the pandemic and now they don’t want to be in their living space,” Corbett said.
Office tenants include small business owners, a YouTube video editor, and an insurance agent. Several also maintain storage units at the facility and also leverage the on-site Postal Connections location to ship and receive packages.
Navigating the dip
Reybold opened its new facility during an era of peak demand for the industry. While rates and occupancies have tumbled nationwide, Corbett said the facility is holding steady.
“We have not seen much of a dip in occupancy,” Corbett said, adding that certain unit sizes have dipped slightly but medium-sized occupancy remains high.
Corbett pointed to brisk boat and RV business as a segment of growth.
“The biggest thing we are seeing right now is all the people who purchased RVs during the pandemic now needing to store them. We’re seeing a huge uptick as people are pulling RVs and boats out for the season. We have three to four new rentals a week, so that’s going really well,” she said.
Given the success, Reybold is working on plans to construct another facility—this time in Newark, and possibly one other.
“We have at least one in the works, maybe two, where we will build identical self-storage sites,” said Corbett.