From Inside Self Storage International 

By John Scheibe

I was looking through the September 2013 issue of Inside Self Storage magazine when an ad caught my eye.
There on page 26 was an announcement for the first Latin American self-storage trade show.

Sponsored by the Brazilian Self Storage Group, the show in early November promises to be a groundbreaking event as those in the nascent self-storage industry in Brazil and the rest of Latin America come together for the first time.

The vast majority of the more than 58,000 self-storage facilities worldwide are in the United States.

The ad announcing the Brazilian trade show took me back to the mid 1970s.

I was 18, living just south of San Francisco and unsure what I wanted to study in college. I decided to return to Brazil where I'd been spent my boyhood, the son of American parents. I was a typical California teenager: I owned a waterbed, a stereo, a fairly large collection of vinyl records and a few other odds and ends.

I thought I'd stay in Brazil for six months, enough time to re-familiarize myself with the country I'd been raised in. I didn't want to leave my belongings with my parents while I was gone. So I went looking for a place to store my stuff.

The only place I knew about at the time was Bekins Co. Founded in 1891 in my hometown of Sioux City, Iowa, Bekins owned more than 100 storage buildings in more than a dozen states in its heyday.

With less than a month to go before my departure to Brazil, I called a Bekins in nearby San Mateo, Ca., and was told that they could take my stuff and store it. I instead decided to leave my belongings in the garage of a friend's home.

What had originally been planned as a six-month stay, turned into nearly a six-year one. When I returned to the U.S. from Brazil in early 1980s, the self-storage industry had taken firm root here.

Opportunities and challenges

With some 300 million people, the U.S. has by some estimates more than 46,000 self-storage facilities. Brazil by comparison has roughly 200 million people, and less than 100 self storage facilities nationwide.

The opportunities for the self storage industry in Brazil are vast.

Brazil has the world's sixth largest economy in terms of nominal GNP.

Eight out of every 10 Brazilians live in cities. Brazil's middle class grew by an estimated 50 million people during the 10 years from 1999 to 2009. As with the middle class in many nations, Brazilian consumers are hungry for the latest gadgets and are quickly buying them, as well as appliances, refrigerators, dishwashers and more. Brazil has 115 cities with 225,000 people or more. It's largest city, Sao Paulo, has more than 20 million people in its metropolitan area. With the great majority of Brazilians living in cities, storage space is often at a premium.

A recent feasibility study on the self storage industry in Brazil found that the industry has the capacity to generate well over $1 billion annually there. GuardeAqui, which started its self storage operation in Sao Paulo, recently announced plans to open 50 facilities across Brazil by 2017.

Our team visited several self-storage facilities in Brazil during a visit there this year. All of the them appear to be doing very well. The most established one was a facility on the south end of Belo Horizonte. A representative at the facility told us they have been in business more than 10 years and have an occupancy rate of 87 percent. They said there is plenty of unmet demand for self storage in Belo Horizonte, a city with a population of more than 5 million in its metro area.

We were also told that one of the initial obstacles was getting Brazilian consumers used to the idea of a do-it-yourself industry like the self-storage business. Middle and upper-class Brazilians have historically depended on servants to do a lot of the manual work.

But all of this is quickly changing as Brazilians adopt to life in the 21st century.

The recent visit to Brazil only served to reinforce our belief that the self storage industry has a very good future there that is full of opportunities.We are in the process of choosing a location to open our first facility.

John Scheibe

CEO, General Manager of Go Self Storage Brazil

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NY Times article on Brazil's rising consumer class

posted Sep 14, 2013, 7:02 PM by Mara Alexandru   [ updated May 30, 2014, 9:50 PM ]

While the spirit of consumerism may have reached its apogee in the United States first, U.S. consumers certainly have no monopoly on the urge to acquire and keep material things.

There’s an interesting article in today’s New York Times on how consumerism is taking a firm foothold among Brazilians, especially its growing middle class.  The story centers on Luciano Hang, a retail tycoon who is building a network of superstores throughout Brazil in the mold of Sam Walton,  founder of WalMart.

All of this will increase the demand for self-storage in Brazil, especially among Brazilians living in urban areas, where there is a shortage of storage space.

Needless to say, what is true of Brazil is also true of other emerging markets around the world.

See below:

NY Times
BRUSQUE, Brazil — As Brazil’s leaders consider whether consumption should be an antidote for a sluggish economy, a department store tycoon is racing ahead with his answer, taking unfettered American-style consumerism to a gaudy new level.

Proclaiming the gambling mecca Las Vegas as his ideal city, the tycoon, Luciano Hang, has been opening department stores this year at a pace of one every 15 days, from southern Brazil to the Amazon in the northwest. Each cavernous new structure is an homage to American capitalism, with columns intended to evoke the White House and giant replicas of the Statue of Liberty, some more than 100 feet high, stationed at its entrance.

“My philosophy is pro-capitalism, so of course the best symbols for this come from the United States,” said Mr. Hang, who flies around Brazil on a Learjet to visit the nearly 60 stores in his chain, called Havan. “I tell people that we’re about freedom: the freedom to stay open when we choose, the freedom to work for us and the freedom to shop,” he added. “I know this can be controversial, but I think those who disagree with my approach are few and far between.”

Indeed, consumers seem to agree, lured by the low prices and wide selection, if not the theme-park novelty. Inside his flagship store in Brusque, for instance, in the southern state of Santa Catarina, shoppers stop to take pictures of themselves alongside replicas of a red Ferrari and a pink Corvette.

Read more at:

Brazil's economy grows in second quarter

posted Sep 4, 2013, 11:19 AM by Mara Alexandru   [ updated May 30, 2014, 9:51 PM ]

Rio de Janeiro: 
Brazil's GDP grew 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the previous three months, according to official statistics.

The figure marked a year-on-year GDP growth of 3.3 percent, Xinhua cited the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics as saying Friday.

The agricultural industry led the surge with a 3.9-percent growth, while manufacturing and the service industry followed with 2 percent and 0.8 percent.

Also during the period, investments rose 3.6 percent quarter over quarter, while private consumption edged up to 0.3 percent, still weak but better than the zero growth in the first quarter.

Between April and June, exports grew 6.9 percent, while imports increased by 0.6 percent, thanks to the real's devaluation against the US dollar.

Brazilian Self Storage Group to Host 2013 Trade Show, Conference in São Paulo

posted Aug 14, 2013, 4:33 PM by Mara Alexandru

The Brazilian Self Storage Group (BSSG), an affiliate association of the U.S. national Self Storage Association (SSA), will host its first tradeshow and education conference on Nov. 4-5 in São Paulo. The “All Latin Trade Show” will be held at the Secovi Convention Center and feature a keynote session on the importance of local associations presented by Patrick Reilly, chairman of the SSA. Additional presentations will discuss self-storage operations, and there will be a panel discussion with operators from a variety of nations, according to show organizers.            

In addition to tradeshow exhibits and education seminars scheduled for both days, a welcome cocktail reception will be held on Monday, Nov. 4.

The BSSG advises that in addition to a valid passport, North Americans traveling in Brazil are required to have a visa, which can be obtained for free from the nearest Brazilian embassy or consulate, or for a fee from a visa service.

Sponsors of the event include Chateau Products Inc., Janus International, PTI Security Systems and SMD Software Inc. (SiteLink).

Shopping down to Rio

posted Apr 1, 2013, 2:02 PM by Mara Alexandru   [ updated Jul 29, 2013, 7:05 AM ]

From The Economist Magazine

Brazilians like to spend. Tiffany, a jeweller, has more stores in São Paulo than anywhere else in the world. Louis Vuitton, which makes expensive bags, until recently got its biggest profits per square foot from its São Paulo shops. But it is the scale of the mass consumer market that is opening up—the 1m points of sale for beer, the 165m mobile phones—which is raising the biggest hopes. “If the world is looking for savers, Brazil is not much good,” says Illan Goldfajn, chief economist of Itaú. “But if it is looking for consumers, then we might be able to help.”

David Neeleman, who has launched an airline, Azul, to serve all these new consumers, sums up the optimism that the new entrants to the middle class are creating. “America has an excess of everything: cars, credit,” says Mr Neeleman. “Down here people are getting their first car, first credit card, owning their first home. It feels like the beginning of the cycle.” He is talking about people like Eduardo Lins, who left his eight siblings in the interior of Bahia and followed a girlfriend to Salvador, the state capital, when he was 15. Now, 20 years later, Mr Lins has a new car, bought on credit, which he is paying off by driving a taxi, and has recently bought an apartment in the city. Life has got better.

Consumer credit has grown by 28% a year in nominal terms over the past three years. The middle class also needs apartments and houses to put its new purchases in. Brazilian housebuilders believe that as mortgages develop, the housing market will be a profitable place to be. They seem to have convinced foreign investors, who have provided most of the capital for Brazil's listed housebuilders. The government reckons the country needs 8m more houses. But most builders are even keener to provide apartments for Brazilians who are somewhat better off.

In addition to the need to house Brazil's existing middle class, says Wilson Amaral of Gafisa, a large listed housebuilder, Brazil needs to look to the future: it will have 35m new families by 2030, all of whom will need somewhere to live. Brazil's population is comparatively young and still growing....

Trump, Partners Plan Huge Rio de Janeiro Project

posted Apr 1, 2013, 1:59 PM by Mara Alexandru   [ updated May 30, 2014, 9:53 PM ]

From The Wall Street Journal


SÃO PAULO, Brazil—Trump Organization and a consortium of companies plan to construct a massive commercial development in Rio de Janeiro as the city gears up for the 2014 World Cup finals and the Olympics in 2016.

The development will be the first Trump-branded project in Brazil, and features a row of five 38-story buildings over 345,000 square feet in the coastal city's downtown area.

Other partners for the project, called Trump Towers Rio, include U.K.-based real-estate investor MRP International, Brazilian construction company Even Construtora e Incorporadora SA, EVEN3.BR -1.55% and investment-services firm Salamanca Group.

Valued at $2.5 billion, according to MRP, the project is a bet that Rio de Janeiro will continue to enjoy economic growth. The city has attracted a flood of foreign investment after massive oil discoveries off Brazil's coast in recent years and as the country's economy expands, but Rio faces a number of challenges as officials rush to fix deteriorating infrastructure and crack down on crime.

"Brazil is an extremely important market for us," said Donald Trump Jr., an executive vice president at Trump Organization, in a press release. He added at a press conference Tuesday that the company is also evaluating opportunities in the hotel space in Brazil, but declined to elaborate.

The Trump project is expected to be the largest commercial development in the country, and one of the largest urban office developments in the world, the companies said Tuesday. It will initially target leasing office space to large Brazilian and multinational companies, they said.

The companies didn't disclose financial details of their partnership, but said construction will begin in the second half of 2013.

Situated between beaches and mountains, the city is planning some $10 billion in improvements including a new train service, new highways and aerial tramways. Nearly half of the budget will go to revitalizing Rio's downtown port district, Porto Maravilha, where the new Trump project will tower over Rio's new business hub.

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