Making Room For You Since 1973

The storefront of a self storage facility in 1973

Metro Storage Celebrates Five Decades of Rapid Growth in 80s & 90s

August 29, 2023 | Your Local Metro

This year we proudly commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our first self storage facility in the vibrant Chicagoland area. In our previous blog, Celebrating Our 50th Anniversary: The Metro Self Storage Brand Launches in the 1970s, we explored the remarkable journey of our visionary founder, Karl Nagel, who was a pioneer in the self storage industry, introducing the concept of mini warehouses to the Midwest in 1973. 

In 1979, following rapid expansion in the Chicago market, the Metro Self Storage brand was introduced with a fresh logo and image. The updated brand sought to replace the vibrant hues of previous storage facilities with earth-tone colors. This strategic shift would better integrate the company’s facilities with neighborhoods and facilitate zoning approvals.

Metro Self Storage breaking ground on new storage facility in 1990s

Karl Nagel (center) is breaking ground on a new Metro Self Storage facility with his sons Matt and Blair Nagel 1990s. 

Metro Self Storage in the 80s

With a modernized brand and logo, Metro’s stores are reimagined with green roll-up doors and awnings. New Metro Self Storage signs are installed to better help with brand identification. During this time, the company expanded its product offering by introducing moving boxes and supplies in addition to moving truck rentals at its locations.  

In 1985, Karl’s son, Matthew Nagel, joined the company to oversee the development of storage facilities. A few years later, his brother Blair Nagel came aboard to oversee construction and property management. In 1997, the brothers bought out their father’s interests and formed Metro Storage LLC, growing the number of facilities from 33 to 57. Early on, Karl and Blair focused the company on a single industry and shared responsibilities for running day-day-operations. 

At the beginning of 1985, more than 6,600 storage facilities had 289.7 million square feet of rental space.* In the decade from 1987 to 1997, Metro Self Storage had steady growth, increasing our number of stores to 42 located in five states—Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan. 

Metro Self Storage in the 90s 

In another pioneering moment, Metro Self Storage built one of the nation’s first 100% climate-controlled storage facilities in Glenview, Illinois in the 90s. The Nagels recognized the need for a controlled storage environment that could protect temperature-sensitive items such as documents, household furnishings, electronics, and other valuables from extreme temperatures and humidity. This marked a significant advancement in the self-storage industry.

In 1995, the median sales price of a new home was around $150,000, and the federal interest rate was 8.5%. Around the same time, In the mid- to late- 90s, one in 19 American households rented a self storage space.* 

However, by 2005 1 in 11 households would come to rely on self storage space, which was an astounding 75% increase. The need for self-storage grew during this time due to lifestyle changes, moving, and consumer habits. 

Throughout 2023, we’re delighted to celebrate our extraordinary fifty-year journey by sharing memorable milestones with our valued customers, dedicated employees, and friends. Be sure to return here every month and keep a close eye on our social media channels—Facebook and Twitter—to stay connected.

Making Room for You Since 1973

Welcome to Metro Self Storage, where our core focus is on building meaningful connections with our customers. Since establishing our inaugural storage facility in 1973, Metro Self Storage has become one of the country’s most respected storage providers.

As we proudly commemorate our 50th Anniversary, we remain committed to maintaining our stellar reputation for unparalleled customer service, complemented by state-of-the-art storage facilities in convenient locations in neighborhoods and business districts.

Discover if there’s a Metro Self Storage facility near you by visiting us online at Explore our contemporary storage solutions and experience our friendly and helpful customer service.

*Source: SSA Fact Sheet