Burdette's company has been working in local real estate development for the last 46 years, but he said in the early 1980s he started building storage units under a subsidiary company, A-1 Commercial Storage.
Burdette recently opened a 23,000-square-foot, climate-controlled storage facility in Jefferson that's already filled.
He's now building a 20,000-square-foot, climate-controlled building just off the Cross Lanes exit of Interstate 64. Once that building is finished, he plans to build another 60,000- to 80,000-square-foot building on an adjacent two-acre tract.
Burdette said he started seeing more interest in climate-controlled storage about 10 years ago and finds it's now the preferred type of facility for most customers.
"I think if you jump back 10 years ago, you saw more companies wanting it for their files and for keeping documents," Burdette said.
"Now it's just a broad range of customers," he said. "After all, we're a consumer-based country, and we've got to have a place to put all of it."
While rents for climate-controlled units cost about twice as much, Burdette said customers get more than just temperature control.
"To some extent it is more secure," he said.
In his case, the units all are inside a larger building that has an electronic security system at its entrance and cameras throughout.
Burdette also said his buildings have quarters for a live-in caretaker. That person helps maintain the building and assists customers.
Perine said he and Burdette were just a couple of the locally owned storage unit companies operating throughout the valley. Many other companies are headquartered out of state.
Perine said the business has proved to be a stable investment over the years and provides advantages over other large-scale warehousing operations.
"If you have a building that's say 10,000 square feet, you might have 75 customers in there," he said. "If you lose your customer, you lose maybe $100 a month, whereas if you own a warehouse and lose a customer, you lose everything.
"By diversifying, you lower your risk and that makes a good real estate investment," he said.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.