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San Fernando
Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

Vehicle Storage With Clubhouse

No sign advertises where Barrett Automotive Group is located in Moorpark, but that’s just the way company founder Kevin Barrett wants it. Because inside an earth-tone building on Patriot Drive, the 38-year-old Barrett rents storage space for car collectors. The business opened its doors in September of last year and so far has about a dozen cars stored there, plus one boat. “Anything with a motor we will essentially store,” Barrett told the Business Journal. “We have gotten a couple of calls for Sprinter vans. I haven’t taken any in yet but that seems to be a popular item right now.” Barrett’s desire for a low profile stems from the expensive vehicles on the premises. Among the cars at the facility are a McLaren sports car; an ultimate edition of the Toyota FJ Cruiser, one of only 2,500 made; a cherry red Volkswagen Beetle; and the rarest vehicles, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air and 1958 Chevy Impala that are 100 percent in original condition and have not been modified at all. “You can literally eat off those cars,” Barrett said. “The owner is very meticulous about them.” In the lounge area, there is a Mustang GT500 that the owner is storing there but likes to have in the open near where people congregate, Barrett added. The car’s owner operates Lugcraft, the local company that did all the laser engraved artwork of cars found around the building. The common lounge area is where Barrett has hosted events and allows the car owners to have them as well, although he likes the keep those low key. For $350 a month, a car owner can store a vehicle at Barrett’s place. A host of other services, such as car washing, hooking the vehicle up to a charger and transportation to and from car shows or auctions, comes at an a la carte pricing structure. Staff can also help with the sale of a car and transfer of the registration. “If a car owner wants to go to a dealership for routine maintenance, we can coordinate that as well,” Barrett said. The idea is to take the burdens of ownership off the vehicle’s possessors and onto the staff of Barrett Automotive Group, he added. “When they want to just drive the car and enjoy it, they’ll call us and we’ll have the car ready,” Barrett continued. “We stage it out by the back doors, and they check in at the office, get the keys and off they go.” With only about a dozen cars renting space, the company is not yet profitable. It has room to store about 100 vehicles on month-to-month leases. With such expensive cars stored inside, security is a priority, Barrett said. There is round-the-clock alarms and camera surveillance monitoring every corner of the warehouse as well as the lobby area and the exterior. The building is fully sprinklered and is monitored by the fire department, Barrett added. Car culture Barrett has been involved with cars since a teenager, when he got to work for an auto customization shop in Woodland Hills and built his own cars for display at car shows and at the Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA, shows. Later, Barrett got into the construction business with Barrett Building Co. Inc. in Moorpark but kept up his passion for cars and collecting them. He owns a Rolls Royce and Bentley that he stores at his facility. “Recently, as the construction company developed, it allowed me to venture into something new like this,” Barrett said. Autobahn Alliance was the original name of the company. But at the beginning of last month, Barrett rebranded it to the eponymous Barrett Automotive Group after two partners left the business when things didn’t work out. “But the whole business concept is still the same,” Barrett added. Barrett is not alone in offering up space to car collectors. Tony Principe, along with his father Rick, has established Finish Line Auto Storage – 30 high end car condos in Westlake Village. The company is currently constructing an 80,000-square-foot facility at John Wayne Airport in Costa Mesa and was approved by Los Angeles County to build the car condos in Calabasas. In addition to selling the condos, the facility hosts four big events during the year along with dinner parties and auctions. “There are always things going on at Finish Line,” Tony Principe said. “It is what a yacht club would be but for car people.” Joe Molina, president of the JMPR division of integrated marketing agency imre and a car collector himself, was skeptical about whether people would want to do more than store their cars. While the high end of the auto market may want to have their cars washed and batteries charged at these businesses, Molina said that most car people just want to get in and get out. “I am not sure people want to use it as a social outlet because of all the other things that you can do in Los Angeles and the (San Fernando) Valley,” Molina added. Principe, however, said the social aspect of his business has become just as important as the physical storage of vehicles. And Barrett is betting big on car enthusiasts wanting to spend together. Currently under construction on the second floor of his building is a 4,000 square foot members-only lounge, bar and conference room. It should be completed by the end of March, Barrett said. Principe does not consider Barrett competition and vice versa. In fact, Principe has been known to send client to Barrett. “They get calls all the time for storage and they don’t do that, so they have been referring clients over to us,” Barrett said. There is a good niche for what Barrett does, Principe added. “We get a lot of calls from people wanting to rent space for a single car or two,” he said. “We do not do that. I am happy to refer these people off to Kevin.” Before businesses like Barrett’s and Principe’s came along. what car collectors did was store their vehicles in hangars at an airport, said Molina. He used Valley Indoor RV Storage in Chatsworth when he had a larger collection of cars, paying less than $250 for a space in a large warehouse. Molina added that prior to that he used both private storage and storage lockers but the problem with those facilities is the limited space and the dust. “The cars are cleaner when you put them inside a warehouse that is used for parking,” Molina said.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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