He was my first college professor back in 1992- 8:00 class Freshman year Political Science at Calvin College. He recognized my Southern accent right away because his wife is from South Carolina. We forged a friendship that has lasted through the years. I’d like to introduce a friend and one of our Team Orphans business sponsors- Dr. William Stevenson owner of Fort Knox Self Storage in downtown Grand Rapids.
After retiring from 22 years as a Political Science professor at Calvin College, Dr. Stevenson (“Bill” to me now) became a business owner in 2011. He bought Fort Knox Self Storage in downtown Grand Rapids, using money he and his wife, Rosemary received from selling timber land in South Carolina. When he bought the company out of bankruptcy, it was a storage and moving business. Bill dropped the moving part and turned the self storage part into a very successful company. He has a nice corner on the market being the only self storage in the downtown area and the only indoor storage for miles around. He has 350 units of varying sizes, all indoors and monitored so only authorized people can get into the building. The historical downtown building dates back about 100 years, originally owned by Kendall furniture company, and has 4 floors and 2 big freight elevators. Renters at Fort Knox Self Storage are quite varied and from many walks of life-
downtown business owners who need more space
people temporarily moving out of the country for military, family, or jobs
local residents moving, building houses, or looking for houses
lower income downtown residents who need a small place to store belongings
people who are financially well off in need of “an extra garage or two”
Bill says that it is the perfect business for him now, allowing him to still enjoy retirement. He has 1 full time employee, his office manager, Lauri, and 3 part time employees. Lauri is often mentioned by renters and others who know her as the biggest asset of the company! She has been there for 5 years and also has a background in real estate. Bill enjoys working with her saying, “She seems to know everyone. She can talk to anybody and make him feel at home.”
Fort Knox Self Storage donates some of their units to non-profits who need storage space. They have also been a Team Orphans business sponsor every year since we launched 3 years ago. Who would have known back at Calvin in 1992 that we would have this relationship now! Thank you, Bill, for inviting me to your home for dinner when I was a college kid. And thank you now, for supporting my ministry to orphans around the world.