Secure storage spaces for short and long-term storage needs!
Before reading any further, please note that this web site is not currently open for business, due to covid19, but also because the owner has moved to California and has yet to set up legally to operate in California. Please check back soon to see if there have been any changes.
By An Other Guy
aka John Thielking
October 22, 2020
TheBusStation.org is a proposal for a store that has many hats under one roof. It started out as a business model for existing stores to host lockers for homeless people to store their stuff for $15/month. It turns out that the revenue generated from having all lockers occupied is as good as the average retail income per square foot for a mainstream retail store such as Dollar Tree. So it makes sense for a struggling mom and pop retailer to attempt to dramatically boost their income by hosting a few lockers. Unfortunately the Covid 19 pandemic has put a damper on this idea because the CDC guidelines for employee lockers are that the lockers should be emptied out at the end of the day and given a thorough cleaning. This makes it impractical to conform to CDC guidelines while offering self service overnight storage in lockers.
The business plan was therefore modified to have complete stores host the overnight storage. Instead of having self service lockers, the storage is done in 25 gallon totes that valet service people move to and from a back room to minimize the number of people breathing in the near vicinity of the storage devices. After hours, the entire store is lit up with UV light that kills most of the viruses and bacteria lingering on surfaces. In addition to tote storage, valet bike storage is also offered, with the bikes being moved to and from a back room to minimize the number of people breathing in their vicinity. With valet tote and bike storage it also becomes practical to charge either $2 per day or $15 per month for each storage option. Charging $2 per day could be very lucrative for bike storage in particular as there may be complete turnover of the bikes stored multiple times per day if most people only store their bikes for an hour or two while shopping. The ideal location for such a store is within 0.3 miles of a major grocery store or big box store such as Albertsons, Big Lots or Safeway, etc.
To further boost revenue and add variety, the stores will also feature fair trade crafts, offered at a 25% discount to valet storage customers. The goal here is by combining these multiple aspects under one roof I hope to create one of the first for profit fair trade crafts stores that actually makes a net profit. Additional space is also set aside for an Internet café that features coin operated modems to connect to the Internet. The coffee is free, but it costs $2 per hour to surf the web. The goal with having these additional aspects under one roof is to provide a safe, welcoming environment for just anyone, homeless or housed alike, to hang out. The Internet café features 6 foot square cubicles to help maintain social distancing.
The valet bike storage is particularly valuable to have because it encourages people to use their bikes for shopping and or commuting with much reduced risk of theft or vandalism of unattended bikes. This dramatically reduces the greenhouse gas emissions and resource extraction needed to produce and maintain the transportation network, even better than having everyone drive an electric car.
If you would like to see this project get off the ground, with one initial location in Roseburg, Oregon, please send a donation made out to TheBusStation.org to TheBusStation.org, 1017 W 8th Ave Apt. 3, Eugene, Oregon 97402. Thank you.
The old version of this page appears below:
Who Else Wants Affordable Self-Storage Units?
Eugene, Oregon, USA of starting up a brand new business, called TheBusStation.org. The goals for TheBusStation.org are to start with at least twelve 4-1/2 cubic foot lockers for unhoused and other people to rent for a flat rate of $15 per month by October 1st, 2019, plus many more lockers after that. These lockers will provide a safe and secure place for people to store their essential belongings that might otherwise get confiscated.
6-8-19 Summary and Update On This Locker Storage Solution Idea
by John Thielking
owner of TheBusStation.org, CouchHosting.org and Peacestickers.net
Famous last words, I finally, finally have a way to boost the prospects of poor and unhoused people in Eugene that is apparently not yet significantly blocked by any building code or zoning rules that I have been able to find, at least not within the city limits of Eugene. Although this idea is exportable to other areas, even areas that charge higher rents for retail spaces, it is not clear at this time if zoning and building codes that apply in other jurisdictions will allow this type of operation to be set up in this exact form. Springfield, Oregon, for instance, is just enough different that this idea may or may not fly there.
The final version of this concept is the following:
* Set up banks of lockers inside of spare spaces inside of existing retail stores in Eugene under the following descriptions and terms:
* Each locker measures 36” tall x 12” wide x 18” deep and rents to customers with or without a residential address for a flat fee of $15/month.
* Per privacy and property rights laws that apply in Oregon, lockers and their contents will remain undisturbed for a minimum of 30 days. If a rent bill is more than 30 days past due, the lock on the locker will be changed. 30 days after that, the locker contents will be disposed of.
* The banks of lockers stack two lockers tall and three lockers wide , for a total height of 78” and a total width of 36”.
* The bottom row of lockers meets accessibility requirements under the ADA.
* Each made in the USA locker is equipped with a deadbolt style built in lock with a key.
* The retail stores that these lockers are located in should be open for locker access 7 days per week. Specific hours may vary from store to store.
* Store owners will be paid a guaranteed income of $90 per month for every 12 lockers installed, for the limited number of lockers available for free.
* Store owners who don’t want to wait for funding to become available for TheBusStation.org to make more free lockers to become available are welcome to purchase the exact same lockers directly from the distributor, rent locker spaces themselves, and merely pay TheBusStation.org $10 per month per 12 lockers installed for the right to use a sign that has the name TheBusStation.org on it.
* Mounting the lockers to a wall may not be necessary, if they can be grouped in pairs, such that the total depth of the assembly is not less than 36”.
* The lockers that are owned by TheBusStation.org will be serviced and all rental payments for individual lockers collected by John Thielking of TheBusStation.org. The only requirement that the store owners have to fill is to allow access to the lockers 7 days per week for a minimum of 6 months per contract. Holidays may be excluded.
* The funding required to set up the first pair of locker units, totaling 12 lockers, should be available no later than October 1st, 2019.
* Donations for paying it forward to cover other customers’ locker rental fees and/or to get more lockers set up faster can be made by making a check payable to TheBusStation.org and mailing it to TheBusStation.org, PO Box 10631, Eugene, OR 97440.
You can also make a donation online by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/thebusstationorg-lockers-for-unhoused
* If you want to inquire about setting up one or more pairs of locker units inside your existing retail store, or if you want to reserve a locker for rent, please fill out the contact inquiry form below, or call or text John Thielking at 541-636-6269. Thank you.
Why go with having a set of lockers instead of a vending machine or instead of having some other kind of retail vending take place in the space that would be occupied by the set of lockers?
Let’s take a brief look at the mathematical breakdown of the desired numbers.
Doing a quick Internet search, I find that the goal that a small retailer should have for the sales performance of their retail space is a gross sales volume of about $500/sqft/year. As a comparison, JC Penny earns an average of $165/sq ft/year in gross sales, while CVS earns $666/sq ft/year. There are some major brand retailers that actually have gross sales of $200 per sq ft per year or less according to this article: https://www.camoinassociates.com/average-square-footage-and-retail-sales-square-foot-across-major-brands
Most retailers have a gross profit margin before rent on their items sold of about 25%. That means that the $500/sq ft/year will earn them about $125/sq ft/year gross profit, based on the cost of goods sold deducted from gross sales. This translates into about $10/sq ft/month gross margin. A $200 per sq ft per year operation of a discount store with only a 20% gross profit margin would generate only $3.33 per sq ft per month gross profit.
If your insurance company or my insurance company is not getting on us to require that the lockers be put in a separate area, which would otherwise tend to approximately double the required square footage consumed by the placement of 12 lockers, then one bank of 12 lockers 6 feet long with a total depth of 3 ft, including it’s share of aisle space, would take up 18 sq ft, for a total gross profit before rent of $5/sq ft/month. If a separate area is required, the bank of 12 lockers would take up a total area of about 30 sq ft, for a gross profit of $3 per sq ft per month.
Those numbers may not seem spectacular until you compare them to the most optimistic numbers for vending machines:
Again doing a quick Internet search, I find that most vending machines do $5/week in gross sales. The vending machines in the best locations may earn up to $100/week in gross sales or more. The average for a new vending machine in a prime location is only $50-$100 per month in gross sales.
Based on the fact that Kroger earns less than 25% gross margin on their sales of groceries, I’m going to claim that the gross margin for a vending machine may be as little as $5/month up to a realistic maximum of $25/month. That means that if the vending machine vendor is making the same profit margin as I will be with the lockers, they can afford to pay the landowner who leases them their space around $2.50 to $12.50 per month.
Thebusstation.org on the other hand will pay a guaranteed payment of $90 per month for a bank of 12 lockers that takes up 18 sq ft to 30 sq ft, including required aisle space.
Does that sound like a good deal or what?
For those of you wishing to send a donation to help this project get funded faster, here is the cost breakdown:
2 Sets of 6 lockers fully assembled at $465 each = $930
12 sets of deadbolt locks with keys at $25 each = $300
Office cubicle partition to separate lockers from the rest of the store at $750
Insurance for the first year at any scale of under 100k/year in revenue at $800/year = $80/month
Payments to the retailer for locating the lockers at $90/month
Total start up cost = $2150 minimum to cover fixed costs plus one month of monthly insurance payments and one month of space rent to $3500 to fully fund insurance for 1 year plus pay for 8 months of space rent at $90 per month.
Not included in this total are miscellaneous expenses such as advertising for more fundraising and locker sign ups, etc.
A somewhat larger, combined fundraiser, for $8000, is set up at https://www.gofundme.com/thebusstationorg-lockers-for-unhoused.
This amount covers the $3500, plus also allows $2000 for setting up a second household in Roseburg, Oregon to help out a homeless friend and client of https://CouchHosting.org who has been in unstable living conditions for over two years, plus funding for a vehicle purchase to enable me to get from Roseburg to Eugene on short notice to service lockers located in Eugene.
Please make donation checks payable to TheBusStation.org and mail them to TheBusStation.org, PO Box 10631, Eugene, OR 97440.
Each set of 12 lockers is located in a well lit, air conditioned retail store that is open during convenient hours 7 days per week, possibly excluding holidays.
My guarantee to you is that you will be satisfied with the privacy, property rights rules and security of your storage of your items, or you get your first month's rent refunded, no questions asked.
Small units measure up to 4-1/2 cubic feet
Inside, Air Cond. ADA Accessible space with the bottom row of lockers ADA accessible
Add a footnote if this applies to your business
Please contact us for availability, or feel free to visit during normal business hours.
PO Box 10631 Eugene, OR 97440 us
Monday - Saturday: 9AM–6PM