LAWA’I — “People stop in the office all the time to thank us,” Michael Osborne said.
That gesture of appreciation from members of the community is gratifying to the owner of the Lawai Cannery property, he said as he celebrated the grand opening of Lawai Cannery Self Storage.
Ben Silva, one of the employees of the cannery-turned-storage facility, said that drivers who use the concrete bridge have been stopping by regularly to thank them for the work they’ve done on the bridge.
Silva said that, in preparation for their grand opening, he had crew members powerwash the bridge, as well as apply a coat of high-visibility white paint to its railings. However, he noted that drivers on Lauoho Road have been more appreciative of the brush-clearing efforts the crew members did to improve visibility for motorists approaching the bridge that sits just west of Lawai Cannery Self Storage business.
Osborne said operators of Lawai Cannery Self Storage offer a state-of-the-art storage facility for reasonable rates, the result of many months of work with architect Avery Youn, county officials, and his contractors.
One of the first things he set out to do was clear out the accumulation of derelict autos, auto parts, and toxic materials that were stored on the property, he said.
What replaced that heap is a gleaming storage facility that offers an on-site manager for added security, he pointed out. Additionally, Lawai Cannery Self Storage operators also offer consumers a temperature-controlled, wine-storage facility, where they can store up to a few cases of select wines.
A frequent traveler to the islands from the Mainland, Osborne confessed that he appreciates having fine wines on occasion, but the complications of transporting the wine from the Mainland kept him from enjoying.
Now, he says, customers can order their wine, have it shipped to the storage facility where it will be placed in one of the units until they’re ready for it, thereby eliminating the complications of trying to travel with the bottles.
Osborne pointed out that the storage facility offers enhanced security measures that include an onsite manager who has an apartment on the premises, security cameras that cover the entire complex, and an entry system with a doubleopen feature.
Once a renter’s arrangement is complete, he or she gets a code to punch in whenever he wishes access to his or her unit.
That code opens not only the front gate, but also the door to his or her individual rental unit. Should he or she try and open any other unit, a system-wide alarm system is triggered, arming security cameras for that particular section, and remains on until the staff disarms the alarm.
A motion-sensor lighting system enhances this offering.
Additionally, the materials and construction of the storage facility allow for access by law-enforcement officials, so renters cannot safely store illegal, or prohibited materials, such as drugs or explosives, Osborne explained.
Lawai Cannery Self Storage leaders offer a total of 444 storage units in various sizes, and an additional 124 wine-storage units with aisles wide enough to accommodate carts for moving items to and from each wine unit.
Osborne said the wine-storage units were born after a former tenant said he would be leaving behind a walk-in chill unit when he moved out. Osborne said he looked at the unit, reoutfitted it, and converted it to a unique storage offering for customers.
The overall layout of the Lawa’i facility offers enhanced drainage to accommodate large amounts of rainfall during the year, and access to the various buildings is wide enough to accommodate storage containers as well as emergency vehicles.
To enhance the storage operations, Osborne said he also has a contract-mover arrangement, as well as offering a variety of storage-related items for sale in the office. These include locks, mattress covers, moving supplies, and more.
In addition to the storage facility, Osborne said they are working at upgrading the warehouse facilities located behind the cannery.
He noted that most of the warehouse spaces will be about 70,000 square feet, but they are working to have one top out at 117,000 square feet, one of the larger spaces available on Kaua’i.
Currently, Osborne said their storage units are about 25 percent rented, and the warehouse spaces are about 45 percent spoken for. He estimates that they should be at full occupancy by summer.
Throughout the process, Osborne credits the work of Youn. “We couldn’t have done it without him.” An arching gateway done in the style of a cannery is a testament to Youn’s work at the facility, as it greets patrons to the office.
Osborne added that, when he came in, the neighboring property across Lauoho Road was being considered for sale due to lagging rentals, but as the work progressed on Lawai Cannery, their rental rate went up, and now, they’re not considering selling.
He also noted that community support is important to him and his efforts, and he wants to have a product community members can be proud of.
The appreciative gestures from passing motorists about the work being done by Osborne’s crew members on the bridge makes him feel good, just as did the appearance of a full rainbow behind the cannery as the final words of dedication were being uttered and the final strand of maile severed, he concluded.
- Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or firstname.lastname@example.org