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Frugal Fridley Family: Unclaimed Storage Store Opens in Coon Rapids

New, used and the unusual will be the norm at the new thrift store.

Riding on the popularity of TV shows such as Storage Wars and Auction Hunters, a new thrift store opened in Coon Rapids this past Saturday.

Co-owners Craig Squires and Brian Dvorak have been buying storage units for years. Their decision to open The Unclaimed Storage Store (3050 Coon Rapids Blvd., Coon Rapids) was based on a lot of factors, according to Squires.

"We wanted to give back to the community we grew up in," Squires said at the grand opening. "We have seen the decline of the Coon Rapids Boulevard corridor with the advent of Riverdale, and wanted to locate our store there. It's a great area, with Anoka Ramsey Community College a few blocks away, and the new Ice Arena being built behind us.

He said the former Rapids Sports building, which was vacant, was "perfect for our needs.

"Being across the street from the new Goodwill gives shoppers twice the options for thrifty shopping," he said. "Our prices are going to be a bit different from theirs, though. All our clothing is priced the same. For $5 you can find a new pair of jeans with the $60 tag on it, a new shirt with its $50 retail tag for $2.50." 

TV Helped
Asked if the popular storage-auction TV shows affected their business, Squires replied with a definitive "YES!"

"When we began buying storage units in this area, there was a core group of 8-10 buyers you would see at the sales. We got to know each other, and the bickering on the cable shows shown was non-existent. Now there is a crowd at each sale looking for that $10,000 vintage guitar or the safe filled with cash."

"While that can be a possibility, more than likely what they'll find after fighting over a unit will be normal stuff. Chances are, anything of real value has been removed already if the renter feels they may lose their unit to auction."

Scavengers
The Unclaimed Storage Store preceded its grand opening with a scavenger hunt, with clues posted on the store's Facebook page.

Sarah Heil and her daughter found the marked flyer to win the first $50 cash prize. The next contest will begin when there are 185 "likes" on their page.

The co-owners will also be posting sales and specials there, along with pictures of some of their finds for sale.

Favorite Thing
Squires pointed out one of his favorite finds: a five-foot long Budweiser drag racer model car.

"A Bud salesman came in when we first started setting up and saw it on the wall. Turns out it is pretty rare, one of 100 or so that were used in Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants' decor before Budweiser switched from sponsoring drag racing to sponsoring NASCAR."

Asked if it was for sale, Squires hesitated. "Well, yes," he said. "For the right price. But it's one of those things that is just, well, cool. It would have to be a pretty high offer."

Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

richard sparks October 11, 2011 at 02:49 PM
I am intrigued when the owner of a new business states that he "wants to give back to the community," particularly in this case. Few people intend to abandon belongings in storage units, and in this economy, many of those who are being unceremoniously dispossessed from their homes place their belongings in storage hoping, perhaps vainly, they will recover them later. This is a significant problem in Fridley and Columbia Heights, which have seen many foreclosures. If the real interest is in the community, why not create an organization to help the displaced keep their belongings ... other than by giving them the chance to buy them back at retail. Is this a sign of economic revival, or a dour comment on continued recession?
Chris Steller (Editor) October 11, 2011 at 05:00 PM
Thanks for the comment, Richard. It strikes me people mean a lot of different things by the phrase "give back" these days. But you raise a good point--people can lose their items from storage lockers if they don't keep up payments. I had a friend in that situation once ... I remember there were state laws governing what he could recover. I think there's a special rule allowing people to retrieve personal papers but not bigger things.
Laurie Buck October 11, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Richard, they're giving back to the community in different ways. By the location of their store--in an area of Coon Rapids that they would like to help resuscitate, and by the reasonable prices they charge for their items. As a veteran thrift store shopper, I've seen prices at the "big box" thrifts such as Savers and Unique, even Good Will and Salvation Army keep going higher and higher. Craig and Brian, while hopefully making a profit, are keeping their prices down. They are also really good about attempting to track down owners of anything personal in the storage units they buy. The letters from WW2 in my pictures are a good example. They are still hoping to track down a family member who is interested in keeping part of their family's history. As to creating an organization to help the displaced keep their belongings--that's just a band-aid. A better organization would be one to help those at risk of losing their homes so they wouldn't need to make use of the various storage companies to begin with. I've spoken to people who have lost their units to auction. One person had been making payments regularly but decided the money they were spending towards keeping the unit wasn't worth it. They made a very poignant statement, that the items in their unit were just 'things' and they can be replaced. What they needed was a home.
Mike and Sara Larson October 11, 2011 at 10:51 PM
Many storage unit lockers are also turned over as well by choice, People relocate do to work or in many cases 2 housholds become one RE: Marriage and they either do not want to move the items left behind across state or it is not cost effect to. By reusing and reselling the items it helps in many different ways IE It keeps many things that can still be used out of landfills, it can create jobs and it also allows low income familys and others to be able to afford many items such as nice clothing for job interviews etc at a very reasonable pirce. I think it is terrific the stuff is being re-used and it is very affordable!
donald white March 25, 2013 at 02:33 PM
hey craig its don white got any guitars laying around e-mail me at don.white1@yahoo.com or find me on facebook

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