Riley Sorensen’s grandfather had always dreamed of starting a family business. Sorensen made that dream a reality last year (2012) when he started construction on Bear River Storage with help from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Utah Valley University (UVU).
Sorensen saw the opportunity to open a storage facility after the Geneva Road construction project eliminated more than half of the storage centers in the area. The business was a needed service in Provo, which provides new, state of the art, secure and climate-controlled facilities, as well as boat and RV storage.
After collecting some preliminary research, speaking with other individuals in the industry, and drafting a business plan, Sorensen contacted the SBDC for startup assistance.
“I am very thankful for the help I got from my counselor, Camille Pendleton,” says Sorensen. “I worked with the SBDC monthly on new ways to market and promote the new facility. We have generated new and effective ideas to market our climate-controlled units, as well as our U-Haul services.”
Sorensen also reached out to several members of his family for help, including his wife Kaylee and parents Debbie and Dix Sorensen. “This has been a family effort,” says Debbie Sorensen. “We will continue to work together to manage and maintain the business.”
Sorensen decided to build on a piece of land once called, “the big pasture,” where his grandfather Milton Johnson kept horses. The area is now adjacent to an expanding townhome neighborhood and the new UTA TRAX line, exposing hundreds of Utah Valley residents to the new Bear River Storage facilities, carports and covered storage units.
Prior to starting the business, Sorensen spent several years at EZ Storage as an employee and manager for two different facilities. Having experience in the industry helped him better understand the market and how to keep pace with changes in the industry. As a result, Bear River Storage offers unique services including P.O. Box services and a conference room with a projector, which is open for anyone to reserve for meetings.
Construction for Bear River Storage began in July 2012. Phase I of the project is complete, which includes 365 units (102 are climate-controlled). The site is also a show lot for Coast-to-Coast, a reputable portable garage and covered storage system.