Whirlwind Storage specializes in climate-controlled storage units for people and businesses alike, but it isn’t going to lock away the history of its newest location any time soon.
The family-owned business held a grand opening Saturday for its Charleston location, which occupies the former R.H. Kyle Furniture showroom building on Hansford Street.
Owner Tom Good said one of the main factors for Whirlwind establishing its third location at the building is because the expansive space was an appealing blank slate to install the climate-controlled units. Unit-renting habits have trended toward having more control over climate and humidity, as extreme temperatures that arrive during the summer and winter months can place many valuables at risk, according to Good.
The history of Kyle Furniture’s wholesale operation, dating back to the 1920s, made the decision even easier. Good said taking a vacant building and renovating it instead of building a location from scratch is a more rewarding experience that preserves more of the area’s natural beauty. The location even has kept some of the memorabilia from the Kyle Furniture showroom, such as decades-old posters.
“There’s a unique, rich history in the warehouse district,” he said. “We saw the building as a really good opportunity for the business.”
Whirlwind began in 2012, when it opened its first location in Hurricane. One year later, it converted a vacant building in Huntington into another facility. The Charleston location had its soft opening in March.
Good, a Jackson County native, said he knew a foray into the storage business would be a valued one as people placed an increased emphasis on preserving their valuables.
“As the years have gone by, we’ve seen a lot more thieves out there,” he said. “I wanted to go into the business and have something secure with good gates and lots of cameras.”
Good touts Whirlwind’s safety measures, including keypad access, security cameras throughout the facility and on-site management six days a week, as reason to give its storage services a shot.
Ric Cavender, executive director of Charleston Main Streets, said Whirlwind’s expansion into Charleston’s warehouse district is a good indication the area is undergoing a revival.
“Since the Power Park came in, we’ve seen a certain cluster of businesses come [to the district] in the past several years,” he said.
Cavender said changes in the wholesale furniture industry — and retail in general — contributed to the end of Kyle Furniture. But keeping the history of the former Charleston mainstay alive is an example for other businesses interested in the Charleston area to follow, he added.
“We’re really happy that Tom Good and the rest of Whirlwind Storage are fostering growth here without doing away with its past,” he said. “They’ve done a really good job to find a creative way to show off what it used to be.”
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