U-Haul hopes to begin construction on indoor storage units by Thanksgiving

Company operating from former Kmart site on South Avenue

Laura Freeman
Kent Weeklies
U-Haul in Tallmadge offers a store with supplies and rentals of trucks, trailers and dollies.

TALLMADGE — Instead of Kmart, the name is U-Haul at 555 South Ave., where the moving and storage facility took over the retail store space on more than 8 acres of property.

A store with moving supplies is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week and customers can rent all of the equipment including trucks, trailers and dollies, said Alissa Nider, U-Haul Company of Akron president.

Nider said they are working on completing paperwork and getting permits to remodel the inside for climate-controlled storage units. Landscaping is being done on the outside.

“As soon as we get approvals, we’ll move forward with construction,” Nider said. “We’re looking at Thanksgiving to be under way with the work and done by the end of the year. We’ll move quickly once the paperwork is done.”

The U-Haul site would employ 15 to 20 people depending on how much business they have, Nider said.

“We’ll hire up as needed,” she said.

U-Haul has transformed several Kmart properties in recent years for the purpose of preserving and repurposing the buildings.

“You don’t want to see dark stores and vacant spaces so repurposing that building for this type of use is a positive thing,” said Matthew Springer, Tallmadge city planning director and economic director. “It provides a community need and that is a positive for the community and general area.”

Springer said from a local level, the city watches retail closely.

“Retail across the country is changing, and the virus has expedited that,” Springer said. “We’re looking at ways to fill empty store fronts.”

The city partners with businesses and works with brokers who represent property owners, he said. The city advertises sites on the city website for lease or sale.

“We’re actively meeting with businesses who want to expand or move into the city and having that database [of available properties] is helpful,” Springer said.

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at lfreeman@recordpub.com