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Thornwood Business Brings 'Green' to Self-Storage

Michael Gyory is his Thornwood business’s best critic. “Over time our property on Broadway, which my father built in 1962-63 as a furniture warehouse, became primarily a gym,” he said in a recent interview. “That type of business puts a lot of stress on an area – there’s a lot of traffic, a lot of water and electricity use. We weren’t being good neighbors, and we wanted to be.”

Gyory and his partner, Joe Kasman, got their wish. In September 2009 they opened Thornwood Self-Storage, one of the few “green” storage facilities in Westchester and possibly in the United States. They converted the building by lowering the floor 1.5 feet and adding another floor reusing existing steel, recycling wood flooring, spraying on soy-based insulation and installing fluorescent and motion-sensor lights. The whole was topped off with an 82 kilowatt solar-power unit on the 16,000 square-foot roof, 75 percent of which is now covered with solar panels.

The solar power became operational in March 2010, Gyory said, and is supporting virtually all of Thornwood Self-Storage’s electricity needs, including air conditioning for the 360 units, 75 percent of which are occupied. “Better yet, by changing over to a storage facility, which is a low-volume business with not a lot of people walking through the door all the time, we’ve reduced traffic by 80 percent,” he said. “As for water – we have two restrooms and a water fountain. That’s it.”

The latest environmentally sensitive innovation, he said, is a 14-foot-long box truck, a moving van, that runs on ethanol and that tenants can use free of charge, except for a small insurance fee.

Being a “good community member” is important to Gyory, who grew up in Katonah and in Thornwood, where he would visit his father’s office on the family-owned site.  A graduate of Syracuse University, he returned to Westchester in the 1980s to work in real estate and build houses.

He and Kasman successfully experimented with a self-storage business in Katonah, which they sold a few years ago. They decided on self-storage as the perfect localized business in Thornwood.

“Retailers across the street in the Town Center shopping plaza use us for their seasonal stuff – Christmas stock, for example, or whatever they can’t fit in their stores,” Gyory said.  “We have a lot of movers whose clients need to store belongings temporarily. And then we have a few people who use a storage unit like a closet, going in and out most days.”

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