Legacy Businesses: Gallatin Mini Storage

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How does a family business start? Sometimes a light bulb just goes off in your head.That’s what happened to Albert Bennett. Employed in the silver refining business, Albert traveled thenation servicing customers that included hospitals, printers, and other companies using the

photographic process to produce images. In 1978, while servicing customers in other parts of thecountry, Albert discovered self-storage out of the need for short term storage of materials. Nothing likeit existed in Gallatin at the time,so Albert decided to bring the idea home. He bought property onAirport Road, built the first building, plastered the phone number on the side, and waited for people tocall.At first, the only calls were from people wondering what the business was. Before long, people startedrenting. Eventually, the 440 units on Airport Road were filled.Albert and his wife, Ladye Lou Bennett, ran the business until 1995 when their son, Phillip, got involved.Phillip actually didn’t intend to work in the business. “When I finished college, I was working in graphiccommunications sitting in front of a computer all day,” remembers Phillip. “I started to realize that Iwanted to do something different. When my dad asked me to help him run Gallatin Mini Storage, I saidyes.”In 2006, the company added a second location near the intersection of Nichols Lane and State Route109. “We opened the day the tornado hit Gallatin,” Phillip remembers. “Thanks to that storm, we wentfrom zero occupancythat Friday to more than 80 percent occupancy two days later.”Today, business is booming, though occupancy fluctuates with the seasons. “We tend to get busy duringmoving season, which starts when the weather breaks in late February and lasts through October,” saysPhillip. “Things then slack off as the holidays approach.”Is a third location in the works? “We've talked about it,but we don’t want to stretch ourselves too thin,”Phillip admits. “We're a small, family-owned business and we tend to be hands-on. We don’t want tolose that attention to detail that we’re able to give our customers. It’s one of the reasons they keepcoming back.”What is Phillip’s favorite part of doing business in Gallatin? “When you’re running a business that hasbeen around since 1979, you get to know a lot of people,” he says. “Those people come back ten yearslater and you pick up right where you left off—like those ten years didn’t even happen.Gallatin is likethat. Even though lots of new people are moving in, wetend to have that same kind of relationship witheveryone. We’re in a growing, forward-moving community, yet we feel like we’re doing business in asmall town. You can’t beat that.”Gallatin Mini Storage offices are located at 120 Nichols Lane in Gallatin. For more information, call (615)452-8091 or visit gallatinministorage.com