Local Self Storage Company With Deep Texas Roots
August 6th, 2021
Trust is a big deal. Especially when it comes to entrusting someone with our prized collections, our priceless memorabilia, or the inventory of the dream company we’ve birthed. That’s why, if you’re going to store your belongings with anyone, you should entrust them to a local self storage company that puts customers first: Alamo Mini-Storage.
Alamo Mini-Storage: How it Started
Alamo Mini-Storage has operated in Texas for more than 40 years, and has been lovingly cared for by three generations of family members.
It all started in the 70s when Vernon Helmke, an architect, and two friends—Bubba, a general contractor and Gerry, a priest—were talking about an uncommon business cropping up in the valley: garage rental. People who were moving, downsizing or renovating their homes were in need of storage and were renting garage-type units to house their belongings.
Soon, the three friends entered into a partnership called U-Stow and Go in San Antonio. As some of the early pioneers in the storage business in south Texas, they helped create the demand for storage facilities. With each of their talents, the architect, general contractor and priest designed, built and operated their storage business. As an architect, Vernon constantly had plans and designs for improvement running through his brain. In 1978, he decided to act on the ideas that were pestering him, and he opened the first Alamo Mini-Storage on Bandera Road in San Antonio in 1978.
Vernon’s daughter, Karen, was the manager of the first location—not only was this role entirely new to her, she was managing from a wheelchair! Karen had fallen and banged up her knee pretty badly. She had 45 stitches, and was required to tool around the storage facility in a manual wheelchair—up and down hills, in and out of doors, and all in the Texas heat.
In the beginning, it was slow going—two or three phone calls a day, one or two drop-ins. Then things began to pick up and eventually, a second location was opened on Eisenhauer Road in San Antonio. A third location followed in Victoria, Texas a few years later. With multiple locations, Vernon needed to add staff, so Karen and her husband Steve were hired to manage the growing business.
With their excellent customer service and management skills, Alamo Mini-Storage set their eyes on opening more locations to serve their fellow Texans. Today, there are seven locations: four in San Antonio, two in Victoria, and one in Hutto, Texas.
Self Storage Business Expands
For Alamo to become the go-to local self storage solution for Texas families, each location had to be conveniently located on or near main roads.
The first property on Bandera Road in San Antonio was a former farm whose property was being sold for development. Seeing that the location was on a main road near both commercial and residential properties, Vernon purchased the property and began planning his mini-storage facility. The first step? Moving the original farmhouse to the front of the property for use as the resident manager’s office and home. Even today, that old farmhouse is still welcoming customers to the Bandera Alamo Mini-Storage location.
The Wurzbach Road location in San Antonio was a “hidden gem” waiting for someone to put it to use. One day, Vernon’s daughter Karen noticed what looked like a mostly-empty shopping center on Wurzbach Road. After investigating further, they discovered the property had slipped into bankruptcy and was available for purchase. This closed-up shopping center had formerly housed an array of businesses, from health clubs to night clubs—and each space needed its own special renovations.
The health club included an indoor pool that was filled in and resurfaced. The night club, called Faces, had three large paintings of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin on the back wall. The night club became the manager’s office, and it’s likely those three paintings are still there under layers of paint!
Still good friends with his original partners, the priest’s son reached out to Vernon with a business opportunity. He spent part of his youth in Victoria and had a feel for the community. Within a short time, a Victoria location was opened and came to be its local self storage solution. A second Victoria location was later acquired to expand the Alamo family!
Although Vernon Helmke is now 90 years young and retired from running Alamo Mini-Storage, his mind still turns with ideas for expanding the properties and making renovations to his current properties. As time and resources permit, generations of the Helmke family continue to care for and serve their communities. Second and third generations of Bubba’s and Gerry’s families are also partners in the business.
Alamo Mini-Storage Becomes Go-To Local Self Storage
The adage is true: People want to work with people they know, like, and trust. Alamo Mini-Storage strives to meet those expectations and more.
It’s in the very heart of the company to treat customers with the same dignity, respect, and mercy that each Alamo Mini-Storage employee would want to be treated.
Resident managers are the on-the-ground, first impression of Alamo Mini-Storage properties. Many managers have been with Alamo Mini-Storage for more than 10 years—some have stayed for 20+ years! When managers remain committed to serve their community for that long, it’s obvious that it’s a great place to work, and a great place to live!
By being a part of the community, we know the pain points our customers experience. We know that a handshake makes a difference, and we know that hidden or excessive fees on their monthly statements are unnecessary and disrespectful. We’ll look you in the eye, shake your hand, and give you the best mini-storage price you can find in the area. We don’t charge administrative fees, we don’t hook you in with an offer and raise your rent month after month. We’re a part of your community, and we don’t treat people that way.
Local Self Storage Company With Strong Core Values
There’s a special kind of hospitality in Texas; a hospitality that communicates: “You belong.” That’s our number one goal: To treat folks fairly, with reasonable rates and reasonable expectations. When looking to fill a manager position, we intentionally look for people that we consider to be hospitable and welcoming, with a genuine heart for people.
When people talk about fairness, contracts and fees and policies come to mind. With Alamo, there is no long-term commitment. We give you a fair price with no hidden fees and policies you can abide by without red tape. We’ve been known to go for years without raising rates; other times, we might need to raise rates every year or every other year. If we have to raise rates, we’ll clearly communicate this to you well in advance of any increase.
We also understand that plans change. A couple may think their home renovation will take a month, and it stretches to three months. Or a business may think they’ll be able to move out their inventory in three months, but it stretches into six or nine months of renting space. We understand that, and we’re flexible to work with you as timeframes adjust around your plans.
One of our customers recently shared with us:
“I’ve been with Alamo for more than eight years. They are the reasonable, family owned business that we want to work with. The location and proximity to our business warehouse is a huge help to us. They are flexible with us and can work with us on the storage units we need in a timely manner. We know them and they know us. And having them located near our business and our home is very helpful.” —Jamie W.
We place a high value on humanity, and we’re keenly aware that each person has a story. Sometimes we’re meeting our customers at the happiest times of their lives. Other times, we’re meeting them in the midst of a devastating circumstance.
Our customer, Maria L., recently told us:
I’ve been with Alamo Mini-Storage for 12 years. My husband passed away, and I now live in an apartment with no storage. Most of my husband’s belongings, and many of ours as a couple, are stored at Alamo Mini-Storage. The unit is conveniently located, and Manager Deborah is amazing! She's so nice and friendly, and she truly cares.” —Maria L.
We at Alamo Mini-Storage pride ourselves on integrity, honesty, and transparency. Our managers solve customer problems, they don’t hide from them. They make themselves available, and assist in whatever manner they can. And they know that life doesn’t always happen within business hours. That’s why, outside of office hours, there’s a 24-hour phone number posted on the front door of each location.
Local Self Storage Company is Here to Serve You
With over 40 years of service to Texas communities by way of our seven locations, we can assure you that we have rental space that will meet your needs—for the long-term and the short-term.
- Six of our facilities offer climate controlled storage for climate-sensitive materials and belongings.
- Our Broadway location on Gulfmart Street in San Antonio offers month-to-month mini-office rentals with street frontage, and street addresses.
- If you’re looking for vehicle storage, the Eisenhauer Road location in San Antonio offers enclosed boat and RV parking, and open parking is available at select locations.
- All properties include video surveillance, access controlled gates, and resident managers. These measures go a long way in keeping you and your belongings safe from harm.
Get to know Alamo Mini-Storage
We invite you to get to know us a little better by visiting AlamoMiniStorage.com. We provide a free, easy-to-use calculator on our site that will help you determine the right size storage unit for your needs.
Better yet, drop by one of our local self storage facilities in Victoria, Hutto, or San Antonio, Texas. We’d love to shake your hand and get to know how we can help you store what’s important to you.