Kerri Nailor's Where House

She stands just over 5 feet. She is a grandmother of three. Sweet as pie, tough as jerky. Kerri Nailor has managed 56 Self Storage in Dover for nearly two decades, a fairly priced joint to house all of your treasures, such as that period Thigh Master or those plaid pants that never quite fit. The main building is vintage, has a long history as a shoe factory, and comes with ghosts who just love the place. Nailor doesn’t mind. She likes things that stay put.

Pack your boxes. She’ll keep a lock on for you.

Photo by David Mendelsohn

In her own words:

  • We have a warehouse as part of our facility. These units are only available during business hours. Because of that, we keep the prices affordable.
  • Sometimes when I am on the upper floors, I catch something running by me out of the corner of my eye. I definitely believe in ghosts, but I’m not afraid of them.
  • I once had someone move out of the third floor. She brought a friend along who was a medium. Her friend said that there were a lot of people walking around upstairs, specifically an old man pacing and swearing a lot.
  • I know that “Storage Wars” is trumped up for TV. That stuff just doesn’t happen around here. I’ve never seen anything valuable or rare like that in all my 17 years.
  • The whole [eviction] process takes about 90 days before it goes to auction. The bidders are allowed to look in the unit from the door … no opening of the boxes or picking through things.
  • People usually don’t get angry when they find out that their things have been sold. It’s never a surprise.
  • I had a 10 by 20 unit come up for auction. This was an outside garage-style unit so there is no electricity. When we cut the lock and opened the door, it was all set up to live in — couch, coffee table, nightstand and dresser.
  • Any units that we clean out are usually abandoned trash. Customers are willing to give up their security deposit to not have to pay for the removal of stuff they just don’t want anymore.
  • Sometimes we come across personal belongings like photo albums and family bibles. We try to locate and return them to the owners. Sad thing is, I’ve never had even one person come back for any of those things since I started here. They just don’t come back. You always wonder why.
  • I myself have a system. If I haven’t used it in a year, I ask if I really need to keep it. I usually just dump it.

Padlocks are a Roman invention from the third century AD. Locks and keys are a constant theme in the self-storage business, so Nailor knew this old padlock was unusual when she found it at a pawnshop and bought it: “It’s pretty ornate and I’m told it’s from the ’20s. I put a chain through it and wear it as a necklace sometimes. I call it my locket. Get it?”

CREDITS: Michael Murphy for his enthusiastic photo assistance despite being well beyond elderly. Matthew Hobin for his amazing carpentry skills as applied to a four-legged stool.

Categories: Q&A