Colne Valley Self Storage – Small Business Spotlight

This Spotlight interview is with Lisa Blackburn from Colne Valley Self Storage – Huddersfield’s local premier storage facility. It’s the story of an old textile mill transformed into modern, high-quality storage units. And how Lisa moved from selling houses to selling storage.

Please introduce yourself and your business.

I’m Lisa Blackburn and I’m the Operations Manager for Colne Valley Self Storage.

We’re a modern, prestige storage facility based at Brook Mills in Slaithwaite.

My background is in the Estate Agency business. I’d spent 17 years there – beginning in the corporate world before moving onto Simon Blyth estate agents and then starting my own independent firm.

During that time I met John and Judith Morris. When they were looking to redevelop Brook Mills into brand new storage units I took up their offer to work here!

I now work alongside Ryan the other company director. So if you pop into the office you’ll be met by myself or Ryan.

How did the business start?

The business began when Judith and John saw an opportunity for a new type of storage business in the local area.

One that offers a modern service which suits the needs of both domestic and commercial customers looking for storage – for days, weeks or months!

From my estate agency experience, I saw the need for a local storage company that offered this type of flexible service. I understand the need for storage, often at short notice, when a sale gets delayed.

How does your business stand out from the competition?

We’re the local premier storage business in Huddersfield. Customer service is our key focus, along with the quality of our storage areas.

The business has completed redeveloped the mill which allows us to offer purpose built units with a high quality finish.

Unlike many other storage companies we don’t have a minimum contract. So, we can help people even if they only need storage for a short time.

What do you enjoy most about your business?

I love meeting different people and being able to help them. It’s great to get feedback from satisfied customers and hear how easy it’s been for them.

I also enjoy the challenge of growing the business.

How do you promote your business online and how effective is it?

We use Facebook and Twitter as well as our website. We’re building our followers and we’re keen to increase the shares on our posts so we can reach more people.

We also work with the local community – sharing posts from other local businesses. It’s important we keep our finger on the pulse locally. It’s another form of networking, so the benefits are often indirect.

What is the biggest challenge you face in your business right now?

Our greatest challenge as a new business is getting our name known and our brand out there.

We’re using face-to-face networking as well as social media to increase awareness of what we have to offer.

Who has inspired you the most in your business life and why?

I was inspired by my estate agent experience. From working as a team with different strengths and weaknesses to doing things right and not cutting corners.

It really shows when you have passion. Your desire to help people shows through in customer satisfaction.

Where do you see your business in five years time?

Clearly, we want to fill all our units. However, our aspiration is to be the leading self-storage company with a trusted reputation.

It’s incredibly important to keep building relationships. We also want to continue receiving positive feedback from our customers.

How do you spend your relaxation or downtime?

I like to spend time with my partner. I also enjoy being outdoors – walking my dog, running and exercising. Keeping fit through classes or bootcamp in the local park.

In summary, I love to socialise and have fun!

Photo Credit: Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash

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