Self Access Storage Is Rainier’s Newest Business

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That old washing machine getting in your way? So, too, that cobweb-strewn rocking chair sulking in the middle of your living room? And how many times have you tripped over that box in your den stuffed with 40 years of old National Geographic magazines? And let’s talk about all of your kids’ toys you’ve kept since they were knee high, what will you do with all those? 

Sound familiar?

If so, you need a place to stash your stuff.

And you’re in luck, because Rainier now has a brand-new storage facility, and it’s just waiting to take the lifelong load that’s been pushing you out of home and garage.

That’s right. It’s called Self Access Storage, and it’s conveniently located on Myers Street near downtown Rainier. The facility, owned by Rainier residents Carrie and Edgar Ooms and another investor, opened to customers on Nov. 1 and as of early December was already 40 percent occupied.

“We’ve seen Rainier grow and had heard from residents how the current storage units were all full, and also with all the JBLM families here we just saw a need for more storage,” Carrie Ooms said last week. “We are one of the first businesses to build in Rainier for a long time.”

The Ooms — who are both accountants — and their business partner purchased the 1 ½-acre parcel two years ago because they thought the land was a good investment opportunity. Their hunch already seems to have paid off.

City of Rainier Clerk-Treasurer Tami Justice, for one, is thrilled the Ooms chose to build in town.

“The City of Rainier is very excited to welcome Self Access Storage to our city,” Justice wrote in an email to the Nisqually Valley News. “It seems storage facilities are in high demand right now, so we are pleased that the Ooms decided to build here. 

“It is a nice looking facility, and it is great to have commercial building going on. It’s always exciting to see new things pop up in our town.”

Rainier Mayor Robert Shaw was pleased the Ooms saw a necessity and filled it.

“The new self storage units in Rainier are a much needed addition,” Shaw wrote in an email. There was definitely a need, and I was happy to see Edgar and Carrie see the need, have a vision, and follow through with their vision.” 

Self Access Storage currently has 70 individual customer units offered in five different sizes from 5 feet by 10 feet to 10 feet by 30 feet. Monthly rents run from $70 to $230 a month. 

The two current buildings have security cameras and an outside gate that allows 24-hour access to customers. Ten of the units are also climate controlled to regulate heat and moisture.

The Ooms, both 40, intend by April 2021 to add two more buildings to the existing two, which would add another 70 units to the site.

Added Shaw: “It is also very nice that the Ooms are a local Rainier family. They did a nice job with the construction, and I’m looking forward to them being able to get the other two buildings up in the near future.”

The story of the Ooms — Rainier’s newest entrepreneurs — began around 1997 at Rainier High School. That was the year Carrie Ooms — who has lived in Rainier her whole life — met her sweetheart Edgar, a foregin exchange student from Holland. 

But theirs was to be a temporarily star-crossed romance when after the two graduated in 1998 Edgar moved back to Holland and landed a prestigious job at a bank.

“So we had a long-distance relationship for two years,” Carrie recalled. “Every three-to-four months one of us would fly over and visit the other one.”

But by 2000, the pair essentially said the heck with this nonsense, let’s get married. So they did — and promptly moved back to Holland. 

It was a logical move, Carrie said, even though it temporarily curtailed her college career at Saint Martin’s University, where she was studying accounting.

“Edgar had been promoted in his job at the bank over there (in Holland), and we didn’t think at that point he’d be able to find a job like that in the states,” she explained. “It was important for me to support him in his work and start a life over there.”

The couple would stay in Holland for five years — Carrie also working in a bank — before homesickness began to eat at the unabashed small-town girl. By 2005, she was ready to come home — and also finish her accounting degree at Saint Martin’s.

“I grew up in a small town, and I really missed having space and my horse and all the animals,” Carrie said. “Edgar completely understood where I was coming from, and by then wasn’t too worried about finding a good job in the states.”

So now the couple and their three girls, 12, 9, and 8, are what you might call “hobby farmers,” since working the land is not their main gig. Edgar is active in his international accounting business, and Carrie has begun managing property in addition to her accounting duties — so the farm seems to be their shangri la of sorts. 

“We live on a farm with cows,” Carrie said simply. “I’m definitely more tomboy than girlie girl.” 

That seems to go as well for her children.

“My daughters and I like to go get our toe nails done, but we also like to ride our quads through the mud — so we have the best of both worlds,” she said. 

For Carrie those worlds include riding horses, woodworking, and welding, which she began three years ago.

She makes mostly “functional, useful, needed things,” like drill holders for the shop, or barn doors. Or she might just fix whatever farm equipment needs fixing. And when she’s in the mood, she’ll delve into the world of artistic metal work, too.

Carrie, Edgar and other family members jointly own the 100-plus-acre farm — situated about 2 miles from downtown Rainier. Carrie’s parents, in fact, live on the property in their own home next to the Ooms.

“So it’s really a family farm,” Carrie said. “It’s an ideal situation.”

Ideal, too, as far as the Ooms are concerned, is if she and Edgar can manage to retire by the time they’re 50.

“In 10 years, we want to be able to do what we want to do, not what we have to do,” she concluded.

And maybe by then their names will be in lights as “The Storage Monarchs of the Nisqually Valley.”

For more information about Self Access Storage, visit www.selfaccessstoragewa.com. 

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