Last week, I ventured down to Launceston for our Tasmanian leg of the StorMan Training Roadshow; perfectly timed to fit in with the Self Storage Association of Australasia’s (SSAA’s) Launceston Regional Meeting.
My Brisbane to Melbourne flight was followed by a short (45 minute) Melbourne to Launceston flight; marking the furthest south I’d ever been – however it seems that I had brought Brisbane’s rainy weather with me as both Melbourne and Launceston were quite overcast and drizzly – but not to worry!
After checking into the hotel in town & catching up on the emails of the day, I walked over to the Black Cow Bistro – the venue for this evening’s SSAA Regional Meeting.
The Black Cow is located in the historic Art Deco Luck’s butcher shop and, as expected – they did a fantastic steak. In fact, I’d go so far as to rate it as the best steak I’ve ever had… sadly I did not get a photo of my main meal, but I did – as you can see here – get photos of both the entrée and dessert selections, which were just as memorable.
Malcolm Collins of Collins & Associates kicked off the meeting with a great talk on cap rates & the growth of the self storage industry in Tasmania over the past few years. As a bit of an ice-breaker, we also went around the table to see what everyone had said they “wanted to be when they grow up” when they were young. Amongst us, we had an astronaut, an air traffic controller, a pilot… and a few who wanted to be (and ended up being) secretaries. All in all a wonderful evening shared by all – thanks for the SSAA for selecting a fantastic venue and for all that attended.
Coats Patons Central Storage Training
The following day, I ventured to Coats Patons Central Storage – a self storage facility in Launceston that’s based in the heritage listed buildings of the old Coats Patons Woolen Mill; offering around 300 self storage units. It’s an area steeped in history – with almost everyone in town having a tie to the mill in one way or another – even my taxi driver had worked there when she was younger!
Work began on the original mill in early 1922 and was completed by the middle of 1923. The original factory covered four and a half acres and was officially opened in November 1923. By 1933 the factory had increased its area by over 50% and had added two extra stories to the warehouse block (the tower on the corner of Thistle & Glen Dhu Streets).
During World War II the plant ran almost non-stop, working on government and military contracts seven days a week. In 1955, a program commenced which saw the factory increase in size by another 50%, the buildings covering an area of ten acres – to it’s present size today.
Meanwhile, in 1984, the nearby Churches of Christ congregation continued to meet at the Margaret Street Chapel – as it had done for about 80 years by this stage. Over this time, there were approximately six extensions made to the facility to house the increasing numbers. To cope with the continually expanding congregation, a factory site on Frederick Street was purchased and renovated to become the new home of the Launceston Church of Christ.
While the church was going from strength to strength, sadly during the nineties business slowed for the Coats Patons Woolen Mill. Due to increasing costs and declining markets, Coats Patons decided to move it’s operations from the Launceston factory to New Zealand in 1997. This saw the factory close it’s doors on 31 July 1997.
In 2002, further increasing numbers and limited space necessitated the purchase of even larger premises for the church, which saw the Launceston Church of Christ purchase the Coats Patons factory. Following this, major renovations were undertaken to transform the empty factory into a thriving community centre. Today, there is an on-site gym, cafe, a large auditorium & performance venue, a number of meeting & function rooms (known as the Launceston Conference Centre) and an all-abilities children’s playground. Coats Patons Central Storage started on site in 1999.
The StorMan Training session took place in the Launceston Conference Centre, a short walk from the self storage facility, through the middle of the historic buildings and to the Door of Hope Christian Church at the other end of the old factory site. The attendees asked some excellent questions and the training was enjoyed by all. We also stopped in at the cafe next door for a coffee and a bite to eat over lunch.
Late that afternoon I flew back to Brisbane via Melbourne, but due to fog at both airports, the flight was delayed by 4 hours – resulting in a “walk through the front door at home” time of just after 2am! Thankfully Brisbane airport has no curfew, otherwise I’d have been stuck in Melbourne for the night… but it was an enjoyable trip to Tasmania all the same and lovely to meet everyone from Coats Patons Central Storage and those that attended the SSAA Regional Meeting & dinner.
Don’t forget to register for one of our in-person StorMan training courses (if you haven’t already done so) – we’ll take you through some fantastic automation, time-saving & money-making features that are sure to pay off the course in no time. We guarantee you’ll learn something new. Until next time!