When Adam Villard, CEO of Mini Mall Storage Properties, first reviewed the self-storage landscape in the Canadian Prairies, he immediately saw the potential.
“The self-storage industry is an extremely unconsolidated industry,” said Villard. “A small fraction (less than 15 per cent) of the 4,500 facilities across Canada have been consolidated by the largest companies. This fragmentation is even further pronounced when you look at Class B and C assets – ones that you would typically categorize as mom and pop type facilities.”
With Villard at the helm, Mini Mall Storage Properties, a division of Avenue Living Asset Management, was established in February this year. The fund already has nine properties under contract, for a total value of almost $30 million, with an ambitious goal of acquiring 40 – 50 properties through the end of this year.
“We are aggressively pursuing acquisitions across the industry right now. Following in the footsteps of Avenue Living with the goal of consolidating an unconsolidated market, Mini Mall is focused on the Class B and C asset group,” said Villard. “We have a strong investor group that finds this offering extremely attractive, and our large, institutional investors have signed on.”
Villard’s background managing global operations for a major services and pipeline inspections company gives him a big-picture perspective on the advantages of industry consolidation. In addition, he has experience acquiring companies with a fast-growth trajectory.
“It’s very important that we build the right team, and a team that’s able to scale very quickly,” said Villard. “I believe in hiring the right people to execute the larger vision.”
Villard brings his diverse operational, management and executive experience to Mini Mall Storage Properties, spanning multiple industries over 20 years. His expertise building distributed operations will be a key factor as the fund grows, as will his judgment as a strategic business leader.
“The stable income generated by self-storage is very attractive, however the operational challenges can be tough. My role, as we build this fund, is to ensure we incorporate innovative, cost-effective operational solutions as we consolidate.”
Before moving to Calgary, Villard lived in the United States for seven years while leading offices in eight different countries for Pure Technologies, a global pipeline inspections and asset management company. More recently, he co-founded VALO Networks, a broadband internet provider. His diverse professional acumen creates a nuanced insight into building a better mousetrap – the self-storage edition.
“Consolidating self-storage isn’t like running a warehouse or a factory,” said Villard. “This is about building effective teams, being able to focus on data and being able to use that data to effectively steer an organization that is geographically distributed across Western Canada.”