In 2008 when the economy tanked, Grand Rapids-based MyWay Mobile Storage
was about to go out of business and leave its franchisees with nothing to show for their $500,000 to $750,000 investments.
Instead, the franchisees -- located in Baltimore, Denver, Grand Rapids, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis -- banded together and formed MyWay Equity under the leadership of CEO Stuart Hill. They stopped selling franchises for five years, stabilized the company, and invested in a new 20,000-square-foot storage warehouse and national call center at 3696 Northridge Avenue NW, Grand Rapids.
This afternoon, the new facility cuts the ribbon to open its doors to the public and MyWay Mobile Storage announces the launch of two new franchises in Salt Lake City, UT and Tyler, TX.
"We believed in the concept we have and if you can emerge from that kind of market as a startup it's a real testament to the band of brothers formed to save the company," says Gary Schuler, Grand Rapids market owner with Dale Plowman. "We are looking to sell more franchises this year and have markets interested and in various stages of development. Now the infrastructure has been built to accommodate that growth, and we have the call center and computer systems in place."
Schuler says MyWay Mobile Storage's Grand Rapids call center will handle all customer calls for all franchises nationwide. The call center has added one job thus far, but will add one person for every two new franchises that come online.
Franchisees do not compete against each other because they purchase the market in an entire metro area. The company targets franchise locations in metro areas with populations of about one million.
Besides individual customers who might rent a storage container, have it delivered to their home, pack it, and have it stored at the central warehouse, MyWay Mobile Storage has expanded its offerings to serve business-to-business clients, including fire and water restoration companies and real estate professionals.
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Photography by John Wiegand.