A FAMILY-run self-storage company has kept ahead of the competition thanks to investing in online resources.

Go Store was set up nine months ago by Rory Windham, his uncle Norman Galbraith and cousin Jamie Galbraith, and offers storage space at its premises at Monk’s Cross Drive in York. The 900 rentable storage units range from the size of a car boot to a squash court.

Before and during the lockdown, the company invested in IT improvements, website development thanks to grants of more than £11,000 from business support programme AD:VENTURE.

It also has plans for an online facility to sign contracts digitally. The technology means the team can manage the facility remotely, allowing monitored access for customers and enabling the site to operate safely under restrictions

“It was a bit of a stroke of luck that we had all this in place for lockdown. It means the business was immediately more resilient and able to offer something many larger and more established storage sites couldn’t do,” said Rory.

"We are competing against the big boys with deep pockets and the grants meant we can actually compete on that level. The new technology has helped us remain ahead of the market, and business is continuing to grow as we ease out of lockdown and the restrictions.”

The funding from AD:VENTURE, a programme for new businesses in North and West Yorkshire funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), has also paid for furniture for the reception area.

Go Store has created three jobs so far. But Rory says it has also helped create and support about ten other jobs indirectly, as local people use the site as a storage base for their e-commerce businesses.

Rory and Norman had operated a similar business in the North East, before selling that to a national operator.

They wanted to move to York as they saw a gap in the market for self-storage and took several years to acquire a suitable location; on a busy road by a retail park and popular drive-thru restaurants.

“We wanted a visible site as we knew from previous experience that works so much better than being tucked away round the back of an industrial park,” said Rory.

Councillor Andrew Waller, portfolio holder for economy and strategic planning at City of York Council, said: “Go Store Self Service Ltd are an excellent example of how start-ups are contributing to the city’s economic growth and these will be vital to our recovery.

"It’s an incredibly challenging time for all businesses, so to see a young company continuing to grow and create and support jobs despite the impact of Covid-19 is a much needed boost for everyone.

“Supporting our new and growing firms is an essential part of our wider growth strategy, and we are proud to partner with AD:VENTURE to offer this much needed support to help our young firms to thrive.”

Support available to businesses from AD:VENTURE also includes professional workshops, incubator office space, director networks and specialist sector advice. To qualify for AD:VENTURE support businesses must be less than three-years-old or pre-start.

AD:VENTURE’s funding and delivery partners are from across the Leeds City Region and include Make it York and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

To find out more visit www.ad-venture.org.uk