Go ahead and add this story to the ongoing narrative of retail-saving tech tools: New York-based StoreMe, a mobile app that helps tourists and travelers find a spot to store their stuff for a few hours, has 10 brick-and-mortar shops in Philly cashing in on their empty space.
A handful of convenience stores, dry-cleaners and retailers have hopped onto the company’s platform, pledging to keep people’s things safe for anywhere from an hour to seven days. The company fully launched in March 2018 in New York, and slowly expanded to Boston, Washington, D.C., and Philly.
Storage for a small item, like a handbag or tote, will run users $2 for the first hour and $1 for each additional hour, with a daily rate of $7.50. Large items go for $3 in the first hour, then $2 for each additional hour with a $14 daily rate. A $2,500 insurance policy protects purchases dropped off at the locations.
So far, customers are trickling in. Cindy Francesca, a clerk at 4 Season’s Food Market near Rittenhouse Square, told Technical.ly that StoreMe users pop in at least once a week to drop off their things for a few hours. At Foreign Bazaar, a clothes and accessories retailer in Center City, clerk Shyem Verma said most customers are travelers or visitors.
“We’ve had a couple of customers,” Verma said. “It’s pretty straight-forward and we have the space.”
The company is looking to scale its model to new cities. In order to get there, it’s raising a $1.2 million seed round through SeedInvest.
For CEO and founder Peter Korbel, Philly made sense because of is proximity to the Amtrak line and two of the markets where it’s present: New York and Washington, D.C.
“It’s been an amazing city so far,” Korbel said. “We really like the synergies along this East Coast corridor, a user transacts in Philly and then jumps on the train or bus and transacts in New York.”
Why are most of their Philly locations dry cleaners? More empty space, Korbel said.
“Many of the cleaners in Philadelphia have more space than other cleaning operations in other cities,” the exec told Technical.ly. “They like the idea of monetizing their unused space with short-term storage. As StoreMe’s visibility increases in the city, the types of locations we have should evolve as well. We have all different types of spaces from cafes, to boutiques, to wellness centers, to co-working spaces. Our hosts love the service because we are an additional revenue stream and drive additional foot traffic into their space.”
It’s a trend we’ve seen increase through the years: with more and more of our working and purchasing happening online, business owners are looking to maximize the value of physical store space, be it coffee shops, restaurants or retail stores.
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