South Lamar Storage and Wine Cellar is easy enough to drive right past, in spite of its bright orange, green and blue sign and significant three-story stature. But there are good reasons to slow down and take a closer look, and not just as a potential place to house your out-of-date furniture.
Business partners Robert Heiser and Joe Simmons say their goal was to create the most advanced and creative storage facility in the state. So what makes this facility so special? Most of the business’s 464 storage units are located above ground, but down below street level, several dozen spaces have been specially designed and reserved for wine and cigar collections. “The units are totally climate and humidity controlled, and feature biometric fingerprint access,” says property manager, Laurie Niemann. Down in the bowels of the squeaky-clean building, Niemann demonstrates this Bond-like feature by pressing a forefinger to a pad and waiting for the ensuing click to release the lock and allow entrance.
Inside the bunker are storage spaces ranging from small cubes for the aspiring wine enthusiast, to 10’x10’ units for the serious collector or local distributor.
Basements aren’t exactly common in these parts, and the amenity was constructed with great skill and forethought. “It’s lined and sealed to prevent water damage,” says Niemann. And the areas where wines are stored are centered—away from the wall perimeter and vibrations of the outside world that could disturb sleeping beauties. But you needn’t amass a broad range of vintages to be part of the storage club. Niemann says one client simply uses a unit for a few bottles—one to commemorate the birth of each of his children, on hold to be opened on their wedding days.
The underground cigar humidors appear to be the better-kept secret, though—a number of the 30 units await takers. A peek inside one reveals wall-to-wall cedar lining—a wood choice that works well with the 70 percent humidity and constant 68 degrees that preserve freshness and keep out mold. “Cigar storage is not a booming business,” admits Niemann. “But for twenty-five dollars a month, you can come in anytime and retrieve a fresh cigar.”
South Lamar Storage and Wine Cellar
2201 Kinney Rd.