March Chase, vice president and co-owner of Southeast Management Co., acknowledged he was a bit overly optimistic of where he felt the business would grow after opening a regional office in Station Square in downtown Rocky Mount in late 2011.
The family owned business offers management and consulting services to owners of self-storage facilities from North Carolina to Florida. Chase said he and his wife moved to Rocky Mount from Raleigh because he wanted to live in a smaller town. He thought coming to Eastern North Carolina would allow the business to pick up more accounts, given that the company’s home office is in Virginia.
While Chase’s hope of doubling the size of more accounts hasn’t come to fruition, the consulting portion has increased over the past 10 to 12 months, according to Chase. He said Southeast Management has added 11 clients from the Rocky Mount and Raleigh-Durham area through the consulting side. Chase said two years ago the business had little to no consulting service, but now people have more confidence in the marketplace.
Chase said a few of the Rocky Mount clients have wanted to do feasibility studies, which is an evaluation and analysis of the potential of a proposed project ... Chase said the cost is usually a $5,000 fee.
“We haven’t grown the full-service management side as aggressively, but the consulting side has more than tripled the past two years, as well as income in that service,” he said. “It has been pretty successful with much being in the Eastern North Carolina and Triangle area. Prior to two years ago, people were still a little tentative at wanting to do any development because 2012 was still a little too close to the recession.
“Nobody was looking to develop much of anything, so at that time, we just focused on full service consulting. Feasibility studies have become really popular over the last 12 months because people now want to develop after sitting on a piece of land prior to the recession. Now that things are improving, we’re getting a lot of people out of the woodwork wanting to know what is the best use for it (land) and can we put storage on it.”
Southeast Management was in the process of developing a full-storage site on Sunset Avenue last year, but things didn’t work out. He said Southeast Management hasn’t ruled out the possibility of another location in Rocky Mount.
“We spent a significant amount of dollars for investment purposes for consideration in developing a site on Sunset Avenue,” Chase said. “We did a lot of due diligence and we were very far down the process of hoping to develop and sell storage facilities here. Unfortunately, we had a little hiccup. We tried to rework things, but it didn’t make sense financially because there was a little bit of a problem with the adjacent owner. It was discouraging because everything showed it had a lot of promise and it was going to be a great location to bring storage to that site. We still think there is an opportunity here because secondary markets like Rocky Mount are still prime for self-storage facilities.”
Chase said Southeast Management is in the process of looking to add someone locally full time to the staff in the near future.
He said the ideal candidate will have administrative experience with the ability to help market the company and serve in a consulting role.