On-demand self-storage is coming to Milwaukee and its surrounding communities for the first time.
Doorage Storage Solutions, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary, is officially expanding from Chicago to Milwaukee and its surrounding communities on March 25. It’s the first wave of expansion for Doorage, which will serve Milwaukee residents, those living in Waukesha, Pewaukee, Brookfield, Mequon, New Berlin and Fox Point, and even those as far south as Racine and Kenosha.
“We’re bringing a fresh, new approach to storage to this great metropolitan area that is underserved because they are not viewed as epic-sized metro areas that other companies focus as their targets,” said Doorage Storage CEO Sean Sandona. Storage is a need of our society. Now we’re created a storage solution that frees up more time for things that matter.”
Sandona said the expansion will create 30-40 jobs – from mover/packer, route drivers and logistic team members to customer service representatives — within the next 18 months.
The full-service storage company, which has never lost an item in storage and stores owners’ belongings in numerous 100,000-cubic-unit, Amazon-esque facilities, features several key components, including:
“I love looking at true problems, analyzing other companies’ downfalls, all their negative reviews, and then building a business around those failures, and that’s what we’ve done with Doorage,” Sandona said. “We figured out all the others’ failure points, and we built a business around fixing all those problems.”
Sandona said strategic plans call for storage facilities to be dispersed throughout the greater Milwaukee area. Doorage donates one percent of sales to after-school programs in Chicago and is looking for similar philanthropic ventures in the Milwaukee area that would like to receive donations.
Sandona, whose mother Suzanne grew up in Port Washington, has numerous Wisconsin connections. He’s spent numerous summers fishing in Racine and Kenosha, and as a professional poker player, competed in countless cash games at Potawatomi Casino. He said Milwaukee was always going to be Doorage’s first expansion market.
Sandona has been focusing Doorage’s efforts on the college housing market, especially for students who want to store their belongings over the summer, in addition to business and home storage consumers. Doorage serves hundreds of students at numerous Chicago-area universities and will serve students at Marquette University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Carroll University in Waukesha and Carthage College in Kenosha.
“Students are huge for our business,” Sandona said. “We take the whole headache of moving out over the summer and moving those belongings back in the fall, so the students never have to bring those belongings home.”
Sandona dealt with similar headaches when he was a student at Northeastern Illinois University, where he also worked several full-time jobs and owned a handyman business he said earned him about $30,000 a year. It also allowed Sandona – who grew up in a blue-collar home and didn’t own a pair of Nikes until he was 12 years old – to buy a new Chevrolet Silverado and 25-foot Bayliner Cabin Cruiser boat upon graduation.
That business would evolve into All Pro Homes, which prospered until the housing crash in 2007. Sandona would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy that year, and in 2008, he nearly died when his Lake Zurich, Illinois home burned down in an electrical fire. Sandona was in the hospital for two days with carbon monoxide poisoning and when he was discharged from the hospital, he had no possessions other than his four dogs who also survived the fire.
“I had lost everything,” Sandona said. “But when I got out of the hospital, I told myself I was never going to quit.”
In 2009, he founded Elk Grove Village, Illinois-based North Village Companies and North Village Snow Management, which provides commercial snow and ice management services and specialty construction services. The companies have flourished and gave Sandona the flexibility and capital to create Doorage, which has seven current full-time employees and will add dozens more to accommodate the expansion into Milwaukee and its surrounding areas.
“We’re investing in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin,” Sandona said. “And this will create a better storage solution for Milwaukee and Milwaukee-area residents.”
For more information on Doorage, visit www.doorage.com