DALLAS-BASED STARTUP PICKS UP, STORES, DELIVERS ITEMS
Glenda Kay never wanted to visit her self-storage unit alone.
“I wouldn’t go over there by myself because I had to go down long hallways and they freaked me out because I didn’t feel safe,” Kay said.
One time, the 63-year-old Uptown resident paid her concierge to accompany her on the annual trip to get Christmas decorations.
This year, she won’t have to worry about coaxing anyone to run the errand. As a customer of Callbox Storage, a recently launched on-demand storage company, Kay’s decorations will come to her.
“Now, I can just pull up on my computer and say, ‘I want these four boxes delivered at such and such time,’ and they bring it to me,” Kay said.
The store and deliver concept came to Kyle Bainter, Callbox co-founder and chief financial officer for Dallas-based Silverado Interests, about a year ago while he dealt with some of his own storage needs.
“This is honestly the last thing I want to do in this season of life is go spend a day taking stuff to self-storage.”
Bainter and his wife were preparing for the birth of their first child and simultaneously completing a home renovation. Displaced items filled the Bainters’ garage.
“This is honestly the last thing I want to do in this season of life is go spend a day taking stuff to self-storage,” Bainter remembers thinking.
Bainter figured he probably wasn’t the only one that dreaded that labor and time, so he decided to come up with an alternative. He teamed with Silverado Interests co-founding partner Dan Slaven on the venture to bring Callbox to life.
Slaven said some people prefer the self-storage model.
“[Callbox] could be a great fit for a different segment of the population who doesn’t have an interest in going to a storage facility. That likes the convenience factor. That likes the ease of use,” he said.
In addition to personal investments made by Bainter, Slaven, and other team members, Callbox has raised $1.5 million of capital.
To set up hard operation pieces, they called upon Darrell Olson, who helped launched mattress home delivery for Sleep Number by Select Comfort.
Through his small consulting firm, Olson works with startups across the nation. Callbox is his first foray into Texas, but he calls it “the cherry on the sundae.”
“The clutter in our lives has to be taken care of somehow and the idea that Dan and Kyle have of setting it up, we’ll pick it up, we’ll take care of it, we’ll inventory it, we’ll do all of these things and bring it back when you need it, it’s an idea whose time has come,” Olson said.
CALLBOX ADDS TO THE ON-DEMAND ECONOMY
From food and laundry to medical and lawn care, Callbox fits in with a host of other on-demand services currently available in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“The clutter in our lives has to be taken care of somehow …”
Callbox will pack up and lug items for storing in its Grapevine warehouse.
Before hauling off the stuff, employees take a photo inventory of each item or box. Customers can browse those photos and select items to be delivered whenever they need them. Callbox will even return the items to storage.
Customers don’t rent a predetermined space. Instead, they pay a monthly fee based on the amount they are storing. Callbox will provide two hours free for packing and hauling off items. Customers then receive one free delivery for up to five regular-sized items per month, Bainter said.
For Kay, the monthly rental fee is actually lower than her past self-storage payment.
“And the storage company certainly doesn’t deliver anything to you,” Kay said.
Callbox isn’t the first startup to tackle on-demand storage. Seattle-based Livible and California-based Clutter and Omni all offer similar services.
In Dallas, Closetbox will pick up, store, and deliver items, but customers must pack the boxes themselves. There’s also a fee for on-demand return delivery, according to the company’s website.
Slaven said many people have asked the difference between PODS and Callbox. With PODS, a storage container is delivered to a specified location, but customers still have to pack it themselves.
“I think we have a really big opportunity here because it’s where we live and we have connections, but we want to get to the other Texas cities as well.”
“If you want something back, we can get granular enough to get down to a box versus having the whole POD brought back and having to dig through the entire thing to figure out what you have,” Slaven said.
Callbox plans to target both residential customers like Kay as well as multifamily housing managers, senior housing facilities, and commercial real estate businesses looking to add amenities for their tenants.
So far, its members include Trinsic Residential Group, The LaSalle Group, and commercial real estate company HPI.
It has about 22,000 square feet of space at its Grapevine warehouse, but there’s room to grow to 60,000 square feet, Bainter said.
“I think we have a really big opportunity here because it’s where we live and we have connections, but we want to get to the other Texas cities as well … and see where the next steps take us,” Bainter said.
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