One of Chattanooga's biggest mini-storage businesses is being sold.
Public Storage, which already operates five storage facilities in Hamilton County and is one of the nation's biggest self-storage operators, plans to buy four Jepco warehouses to double its footprint in Chattanooga.
Joe Proctor, an 82-year-old entrepreneur who started Jepco warehouses in 1972, said Public Storage made him an attractive offer to buy his mini warehouse buildings in East Brainerd, Hixson and East Ridge. In total, the warehouses Proctor built over the past 44 years include about 2,800 storage units and collectively have more than 392,000 square feet.
"They wanted it bad, and I let them have it," Proctor said of the Public Storage offer he agreed to accept. "People have approached me for a number of years about my warehouses, but this was just a great offer."
But after 44 years in the warehouse business, Proctor isn't counting his eggs until they are fully hatched.
"They did give me $500,000 non-refundable payment, but I don't count on anything sold until I get the money," he said.
Last year, Proctor sold a pair of large warehouse properties built in 2002 off Amnicola Highway — one on Crutchfield Street and another on Wisdom Street — to United Equities Corp. for a total of $18 million.
Proctor said the latest sale will end his five-employee business in Chattanooga, "but I'm sure I will end up doing something."
"I play racquetball four times a week and that keeps me going," he said.
Proctor began his own business at age 19 making whitewall tire cleaning solutions. He stayed in the chemical business for about 30 years and, until a decade ago, he ran both his chemical and his warehouse businesses.
Public Storage is based in Glendale, Calif., and has a total of 142 million square feet of rentable storage space at locations across America and Europe. Last year, the company earned more than $1.05 billion on revenues of nearly $2 billion.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 423-757-6340.