This is one of a series of stories we are sharing to show what’s inside CubeSmart. You not only get a peek inside our customer’s storage unit, but also a peek inside what is important to them. Thank you to Richard, a customer of our CubeSmart store in Lake Worth, FL, for sharing his story with us.
Richard Coyle, a spry 81-year-old, says that while his body remains strong, his mind is starting to fail him. "I'm getting at the age where I forget things," he sighs.
He's owned storage units for over 10 years and has been a CubeSmart customer at 1900 6th Ave S, Lake Worth, FL 33461 for the past three years. He uses his units to store building materials and construction machines for his condo-flipping business. He also flips storage units, buying other units on auction and bringing in the most valuable items to resell.
Richard's been in the military, a contractor, a vocational teacher, an automotive engineer, and a bricklayer's union member; but doesn't like "working for someone else," which is why he started his own business.
He reports rebuilding two condos recently, doing most of the work himself. He said he flips them and makes about $34,000 after all the expenses are accounted for. According to him, "It's very profitable," as "older people sell for reasonable prices." He takes pride in his work, saying, "Everything you do shows."
He buys ½ price kitchen cabinets in Fort Lauderdale to do the condo units he flips and likes that the storage location is right off the highway (I95). He continues to say that he "like[s] that it's clean and easy to get to. People are friendly here. Security is good." He said he likes that he can have things shipped to the storage unit because it makes it much easier for him to come here and grab all the materials he needs at once.
Richard also likes working for himself because he can pick his own hours. He likes going to flea markets and storage auctions and loves to tell stories about his storage unit experiences. He says, "You get the best of the worst and a lot of it in between."
Then he goes on to tell several stories, including one involving two firemen he knows that found a safe in a storage unit. It had $450,000 in it. He also tells of buying out several units just before an auction, because he knew someone who was running it. The best item he found in a storage auction was a custom chess set made in Las Vegas that was gold-plated and worth $2,400, which he still owns.
In one of the storage units he bought, he found a report from a former student that he had graded when he worked for a union vocational school teaching students to build houses. One time, he found something very personal to the original storage unit owner and tracked them down to return it. He claims a friend even saw him on the show "Storage Wars." It's evident that he has a sense of humor, as he laughs and jokes while telling his stories.
In addition to his storage units, he also keeps an old RV on property, which he is working on restoring. He reports having one in the past that he traveled all around the US in. When he fixes this one up, he might just take a few RV road trips once again.
Born in Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, Richard moved to NY in the 1940s. His father was in the military, in WWII. He then moved to Florida because "it's cheaper living and was nice to visit." He has 4 daughters and a son and reports his wife divorced him when the kids grew up. He also has four granddaughters and a great-granddaughter on the way.
Nowadays, he spends time with his "Russian girlfriend" of 4-5 years, traveling to places like Norway, Rome and on a ship in the Mediterranean. "I've been all over the world," he says. His favorite was South America, where they visited Machu Picchu, and said that he really liked the people there. He plans to travel with her to her hometown soon.
He worries though because he is "starting to lose memories." He reports an incident driving down the shore past Trump's Mar-a-Lago Resort and forgetting how to get to a restaurant that he frequently visited. However, Richard plans to stay busy with his business, and continue traveling, because he says it keeps him young.
We’d love to hear how self storage has positively impacted your life. Share your #HumansofSelfStorage story in the comments.